Let’s get this out of the way first. This *could* have been (almost) flawless if it didn’t have a song with f*ckin’ Trey Songz. Let’s be clear: inclusion of Trey Songz = preclusion of classic status. I just deleted that one off the bat. Now with that out of the way… You listen to this album and you get the feeling that Rozay really cares about making good music. The officer’s subject matter is far from honest in most cases, but the lyricism and production will pull you in without fail. Notable exceptions include the one–two punch of “MC Hammer” and “BMF” in which lyricism is tossed in favor of over the top fraternal twin Lex Luger beats and a big fat ass yelling at you about his foreskin, which I happen to enjoy a great deal. Ross gets to flex his wordplay a bit on the Illuminati flavored “Free Mason” with Satan himself, Mr. Shawn Corey, and celebrate excess with its current king, Kanye Tudda on "Live Fast, Die Young." DJ Clark Kent and Ne-yo (I know…) help cook up a lush banker on “Super High”, and surprising collabs with Cee-Lo (took me awhile to warm up to "Tears Of Joy" - had to dig it back out of my recycle bin), Raphael Saddiq and Erykah Badu resemble the guest list on a late ‘90s Common album. I liked "Aston Martin Music" too, but I can't stand hearing it on the radio now every time I eject my iPod adapter tape to hide it in my glovebox when I park downtown. It's about to be deleted, lest it pop up on my iTunes shuffle and embarrass me while I'm with someone in the car. To sum up, its one of the better .rar files of the past year. Take out the Trey Songz joint, substitute the mixtape banger “Knife Fight” w/ Kool G Rap and you’re in business.
Shouts to Hugh Whitaker for putting me on to this. This one was unexpected, but a nice show of Cali hip hop unity. Highlights include a couple of guest verses from Planet Asia (whose time to shine has yet to come, but WILL come soon), as well as the conscious food jam “Chitlins & Pepsi” which plays like a 2010 update of ATCQ’s “Ham & Eggs.” Nice to hear some Madlib beats featuring rappers.
It is not often that the world gets to hear from ya favorite DJ's favorite DJ, so when someone does wrangle him it tends to be big. Sydney Hawkins caught up with Benny for an interview that went on TheUrbanian.com and it came off pretty nice. Epic shout out to Sydney and the entire Urbanian camp.
Here's a snippet:
SH: This was obviously a bright spot in your music career. What other things have you been into over the past few years? What would you say are some other highlights?
BB: Highlights…there are so many. 6 1/2 years on the radio at WDBM… a childhood dream. 4 years doing Elevation at the Firefly w/ Graffiti & Buff 1. My homie Mayer Hawthorne bringing me out to LA this past year to open at The Roxy & play the Do-Over party at Crane’s. Just being out there with my Sky Children / A-Side Worldwide family, Buff 1, Now On, AML, 14 KT and all those guys. I’m so proud of all the success they’re having right now, and really just honored to be a part of the crew. The highlights are really just the relationships I’ve built with people like them, Hubert, my man SelfSays, Stoopz-N-Breeze, BLAKE Eerie, the list goes on. I’ve been blessed to meet a lot of good people.
SH: Any notable projects or gigs coming up that we should pencil in?
BB: Next up I’m working on a recording a podcast for A-Side Worldwide (http://www.asideworldwide.com/), that should be done later this month. I might finally release the 2 year old mix CD I’ve been sitting on called “Money Twelves”… Not sure about club gigs but folks can hit me up on Twitter (@DJBennyBen) if they want to book me. I think the last one I did was Oslo. I’ve also got some weddings coming up too. My homie Hubert & I have some things in the works as far as a DJ service as well, so be on the lookout.
For the full interview, check An Urbanian Exclusive Interview with DJ Benny Ben.
Welcome to my web domain! Pardon the dust. We are currently in the middle of redesigning the site. Feel free to enjoy this mix from an old Cultural Vibe show.