Benny the Butcher shares advice and stories of the streets
Since its start, hip-hop has become an outlet for many people to bring forward their reality. Instead of focusing on talking about how great they are or how cool their crew is, rappers began explaining their tough living situations. Now decades since the creation of the genre, rappers continue this practice of exposing the harsh realities of the life they live. Buffalo rapper Benny the Butcher is one of those artists. It wasn’t until 2018 that he became recognized with his mixtape, Tana Talk 3. A year later he released, The Plugs I Met, the beginning of a little trilogy detailing life on the streets. The second part, Burden of Proof, focuses on the topics of loss and anger that comes from the streets. With the latest installment, The Plugs I Met 2, Benny continues to explore these topics through the lens of sadness, guilt and words of advice.
Kicking off the project is “When Tony Met Sosa.” Paying homage to the Scarface film, Benny takes a moment to talk about his success within rap and what it is like returning to his hometown since then. “Overall” features a posthumous verse from rapper Chinx, who passed away in 2015. “Live by It” is a commentary on the power that comes when wielding a gun in your possession. Whether having a gun is for protection or power, it comes with consequences. He emphasizes this with lines like, “the street niggas won’t outlive their grandparents” and “you send a shooter here, I send him back.”
“No Instructions” is almost like a letter to those listening. Benny gets descriptive and personal about his street life, time in prison and how it affected him. He even takes a stab at those rappers who claim to live a similar life as him, who in fact haven’t with the lines, “Y’all worship these rap niggas, turn this shit to a circus” and “Okay, I see, y’all believe these rappers if you want my nigga. Let ‘em convince you to do what they never done, my nigga.”
“Longevity” features French Montana and Jim Jones. All three take mention of the importance of longevity and how it plays a role in how other people will view you. The chorus points that at the end of the day, make sure your money is up and safe because if you can’t last, you won’t make it. “Survivor’s Remorse” features Rick Hyde. Together they reflect on their time on the streets and the guilt they feel when thinking about the ones they have lost. “This supposed to be success. Then why the fuck I feel stressed out and guilty,” “That could’ve been me” and “if you make it out your twenties, then you blessed” are haunting lyrics on the reality they each have faced.
Being the sole producer for the album, Harry Fraud added fuel to the flames. Benny’s words were already deep and descriptive, but with the samples, melodic loops and drum patterns, the words came to life; between the simplistic beats and detailed lyrics, the two meshed well. Benny the Butcher and Harry Fraud’s work together gave a cohesive sound to the project with each perfectly placed song. While Benny got criticism for talking about the same topics, The Plugs I met 2 took those topics and made listeners look at it from a different perspective. Benny proves on this project that he isn’t going anywhere, and neither are the stories he tells. The streets deserve to be heard, and he is one of their voices.