Benny the Butcher - Burden of Proof Music Album Reviews

Benny the Butcher - Burden of Proof Music Album Reviews
On his latest project, the Griselda Records rapper reflects on old battle scars and new riches over luxury beats helmed by Hit-Boy. Though he occasionally steps into cosplay, the result is ambitious.

Benny the Butcher’s story, like the rest of his Griselda Records cohorts, is one of endurance. There are 14 years between his debut Tana Talk and 2018’s Tana Talk 3, the Buffalo rapper’s formal introduction on the same label as his cousins Westside Gunn and Conway the Machine. During that time, he sharpened his style and emerged fully formed, rapping about dope needles and broken bottles. Benny’s gruff voice, hard-earned lessons, and punchlines quickly earned him a reputation as a feature killer on the rap circuit. More than just a textbook bruiser, though, he’s the rap game’s answer to Jason Voorhees: unrelenting, focused, stoic to the point of menace.
Benny’s latest project Burden of Proof is as much a reflection on his old life as it is a celebration of his new one. Tours have sold out and Rolex watches gleam on his wrist, but old ghosts and lost friends still haunt him. Benny’s music has never shied away from the grisly nature of drug dealing, but now he’s more closely examining the consequences of early spoils. He remembers nights spent in the hospital due to asthma attacks (“Where Would I Go”) and conversations with his girlfriend over bringing his gun on the road (“New Streets”). Every diamond in his bezel was earned through strife, and Benny reveals more aspects of his journey on Burden than ever before.

Even with the battle scars, Burden never becomes dour or overbearing. Unlike Westside Gunn, who's released three albums in 2020, Burden is Benny's first solo project since 2019’s The Plugs I Met. That's an eternity in Griselda time, and Benny's best raps across the album are more potent as a result of the breather.

In fact, everything about Burden’s construction is maximal, scanning as the Next Big Career Step it clearly aspires to be. The album was produced entirely by California super producer Hit-Boy and was mixed and mastered by Young Guru, rap’s engineer to the stars. Hit-Boy has spent 2020 in rap chameleon mode, crafting entire albums to suit the likes of Nas, Dom Kennedy, and Big Sean. He attempts to do the same for Benny, outfitting Burden with a sound that closes the gap between the lush grandeur of early-2000s Roc-A-Fella and early-2010s Maybach Music Group.

When the duo clicks, it feels monumental. “Famous” straps throbbing drums and cymbals to a wailing vocal sample and pulls the ripcord, placing Benny’s braggadocio (“Three Rollies, two cribs, six figures/And I still don’t feel famous”) on a proper pedestal. Closing track “Legend” bounces hi-hats and shining synths off of Benny’s amped-up mythmaking to create what sounds like superhero theme music. Hit-Boy chops chipmunk soul loops and even offers his spin on the minimalist aesthetic that put Griselda on the map. At its best, the sample work across Burden is stunning.

For all its bells and whistles, there are times where Hit-Boy’s beats sound too clean, even sterile. “Over the Limit” shoots for stadium rap and lands somewhere in an NBA2K commercial featuring the latest in a seemingly never-ending stream of mediocre Dom Kennedy features. “Where Would I Go” feels tailored more to Rick Ross’ sensibilities than to Benny’s, especially considering Ross’ hefty 90-second verse on the backend. The beat sounds like it was originally meant for Ross’ Port of Miami 2 but was retrofitted here instead.

It’s hard to blame Benny for wanting to branch out from the gutter-soaked boom-bap that first brought him attention. He has every right to experiment and try on sounds as he sees fit. Hit-Boy attempts to balance this out by heading in the opposite direction so fully that it occasionally overwhelms Benny’s personality. There’s a thin line between making songs that evoke the feeling of Jay-Z’s The Blueprint 2 or Ross’ own Mastermind and songs doing Roc-A-Fella and MMG cosplay.

Still, Benny is in rare lyrical form. “What’s more important: the flower or the soil that grow it?” he raps on “One Way Flight,” mixing stories of drug felonies and life advice to dizzying effect. His energy and wordplay help him rip through the album’s lesser beats like Porky Pig, transcending them entirely. He’s been rechristened as one of Buffalo’s first rap stars and you can hear the confidence in his voice. Burden of Proof is undoubtedly the next step in Benny’s evolution, even if the music doesn’t always match the vision.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Benny the Butcher - Burden of Proof Music Album Reviews Benny the Butcher - Burden of Proof Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, October 29, 2020 Rating: 5

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