If there’s one thing that’ll remind you of your old age, it’s a ghost coming back from the past to haunt you. Luckily, it’s lyrical magic and not a distraught ex in this scenario.
It must have been near 10 years ago when I first heard Benefit. Back in high school, I was really into punk rock and ska (I still am… minus the ska). However, Benefit was my first real taste of “real hip hop” outside of the Top 40 rap/gangster rap that was taking over the early 2000s. Before struggle rap was a thing, there was Benefit. Before there were “internet rappers,” there was Benefit. Despite making some waves from his song “Warp to World 6-9” because of its Super Mario Bros. sample, it was an entry in a young Napster (damn, remember Napster?) contest that put his name on hip hop heads’ radars. Then… nothing.
Under our radars, Benefit made a public comeback over the past two months, first with a lyric video for “So Sick” (which you can see below), then with a Noisey-exclusive video feature with Matisyahu and producers Mr. Green and Kyon Williams. Benefit’s preparing to release his first new material in over a decade, but I wanted to share an oldie, the aforementioned “So Sick” lyric video, to introduce (or hopefully re-acquaint) you to the talented MC.
Following a Sesame Street sample of Burt and Ernie talking about sickness, Benefit explodes in a lyrical, alliterative warhead that doesn’t relent until the verse’s hook: “So nice that it’s nasty/So banging, it’s busting/So sweet, that it’s sick/So dope, it’s disgusting.” I’m not into brag rap where rappers are fronting their bars, but damn man… Benefit’s my exception.
Buy his debut album on iTunes (recorded on a $5 computer mic and $12 sound card!), digest as much of the enigmatic rapper as you can, because if he’s truly back for good, the hip hop scene’s about to explode. Choice tracks are “Supreme,” “Exact,” “Friends,” “Garbage Pail Kids,” and “Proceed with Caution.”