Benny the Butcher/Harry Fraud - The Plugs I Met 2 Music Album Reviews

Benny the Butcher/Harry Fraud - The Plugs I Met 2 Music Album Reviews
On his latest nine-track triumph, the Griselda star finds an easy chemistry with Harry Fraud, whose syrupy samples lend poignancy to these stories of hustling and survivor’s remorse.

Like executors of a late painter’s estate, Griselda operates markets of self-imposed scarcity: $60 screen-printed hoodies, $200 limited-press vinyl, thrift store Wrestlemania gear showcased like lots in a Sotheby’s auction. Of late, Benny the Butcher has ratcheted up the entrepreneurial spirit, enjoining Facebook fans to “get paid with me” via crypto-based schemes. An acolyte of Jay-Z’s pre-“retirement” oeuvre, Benny internalized the elder rapper’s ideal of hustling as a stepping stone to the C-suite. But as Griselda approached rap stardom, even that ladder had been pulled up: there’s no modern-day equivalent to heavy rotation on turn-of-the-century Hot 97 or 106 & Park, just like there’s no analogue for the working, touring musician in the age of COVID and Spotify. It makes a certain sense that the heir of ‘97 Hov would also be a Facebook scammer. What is drug dealing if not a pyramid scheme? How else are we supposed to get rich now?

The latter question looms ominously over The Plugs I Met 2, a nine-track triumph produced by Harry Fraud. Benny is rarely regretful, but his diaristic verses cast back forlornly, weighing risks and consequences like someone who’s narrowly avoided a wreck on the interstate. On “Survivor’s Remorse,” he considers his divergence with an old associate: “I thought about this rap shit and had to stick to the business/Changed my mind, he didn’t, now he doin’ 20 in Clinton.” Where so many of his peers rap about drug trafficking with a listless, stony-eyed fatalism, Benny establishes clear stakes and cause-and-effect throughlines. Over the course of an album, these endless calculations build into something like a manifesto. “Close my eyes and the voice in my eardrums tell me, ‘fore the feds come/To turn these breadcrumbs to a hedge fund,” he rhymes forebodingly on the intro.

Plugs 2 is haunted by casualties of wrong-place-wrong-time (that Benny salvaged a guest verse from Chinx, a charismatic Queens rapper murdered in 2015, is almost too on-the-nose), but Fraud’s lush production makes it an archly buoyant affair. With Benny, Fraud finds the chemistry that’s eluded him on work with Action Bronson, who demands the spotlight, and French Montana, who makes his producers do the heavy lifting. Fraud’s syrupy samples assume poignancy in the company of Benny’s melancholy street rhymes, his spacious percussion a welcome change of pace from the flinty loops Griselda usually favors. The winding, layered arrangements reveal intricate details, such as the rich transition between pre-chorus and hook on “Overall” and the subtle beat switches deployed throughout “Live By It.”

The ’97-vintage Jay-Z that Benny idolizes had learned to live with regrets, briefly enjoying the spoils of stardom before morphing into the board room-dwelling robber baron of his later catalog. Accordingly, Plugs 2 maintains a smirking joie de vivre—just so long as you’re on the right side of it. On “Live By It,” Benny dons a UPS driver’s khaki uniform in order to facilitate a home invasion, because “A record deal will get you lit, but a robbery makes you super famous.” His rags-to-riches setups are always relayed with a knowing wink: “This magic that I’m making, Pyrex classes was my major/It’s hard to tell a butterfly from caterpillar stages.” He doesn’t second-guess his choices or suffer crises of faith, mostly because he can’t afford to.

Admittedly, it’s total catnip for tri-state rap purists. In addition to Chinx’s exuberant posthumous appearance, there are guest spots from French Montana and Rick Hyde; around the tape’s halfway point, Fat Joe wanders into the frame and rhymes “pipe dreams” with “Weinstein.” But Benny and his collaborators never stoop to empty homage. “Longevity” has the most enthralling Jim Jones verse in years, delivered from the perspective of a grizzled veteran who, glory days behind him, has begun to fear obsolescence. His recollections are relayed in an uneasy wheeze: “If you a hustler in the street, well, here’s some candid advice/Dope is an iPhone wet, to save it, you jam it in rice/But you probably never cooked up a thousand grams of the white.” It’s like the wistful final act of every mafia movie—half the wiseguys are washed-up dads, the other half are six feet under, and distance throws everything into devastating relief.

In happier times, Benny wouldn’t make a very sympathetic protagonist: he’s a bully who neither relishes nor laments a life of organized crime. But as in the most riveting contemporary grifter sagas, there’s a vicarious, revenge-fantasy thrill in a shameless crook betraying the trust and institutions that failed the rest of us. There’s nothing left to lose and everything to gain.
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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/Harry Fraud - The Plugs I Met 2 Music Album Reviews Benny the Butcher/Harry Fraud - The Plugs I Met 2 Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on March 26, 2021 Rating: 5


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