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Benny the Butcher

Benny the Butcher, born Jeremie Damon Pennick, is a name that reverberates with a unique kind of resonance in the world of hip-hop. His story, his music, and his unyielding commitment to authenticity have not just carved him a niche but have catapulted him into the stratosphere of hip-hop legends. It’s not just about the rapping for Benny; it’s about storytelling, a gritty, unapologetic narrative that harks back to the golden era of 90s hip-hop, a time when the genre wasn’t just music but a movement, a voice for the voiceless.

Born on November 27, 1984, Benny’s life trajectory wasn’t one lined with roses. Growing up as the second eldest of eight siblings, raised by a single mother in Montana Avenue, Buffalo, New York, Benny’s early life was a crucible of challenges. The streets of Buffalo, rife with youth poverty, became both a battleground and a classroom for him. By the age of 14, Benny was dealing heroin, a decision spurred not just by circumstance but also by the need to survive in a world that offered few other avenues.

The streets taught Benny more than just survival; they became the forge for his artistry. His first mixtape, ‘Tana Talk’, dropped in 2004, was a raw, unfiltered glimpse into his life. It wasn’t just a collection of tracks; it was a narrative, a slice of life from Montana Avenue, the block that raised him. The disappearance of this mixtape into the ether of lost media only adds to the mythology of Benny the Butcher. His subsequent work, ‘Tana Talk 2’, continued this trend, cementing his reputation as a storyteller par excellence.

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The death of his brother, Machine Gun Blak, in a drive-by shooting in 2006, was a pivotal moment for Benny. It was a tragedy that would deeply influence his music, infusing it with a raw, emotional edge. His response to this tragedy was to immerse himself further into his music, releasing a flurry of mixtapes between 2007 and 2013. Even as he juggled his music with his activities as a drug dealer, which led to multiple run-ins with the law, Benny never lost sight of his artistic vision.

The founding of Griselda Records by his cousin Westside Gunn in 2014 marked a significant turning point in Benny’s career. It was here that he refined his sound, moving away from the prevailing trends of the 2000s to a more distinct, in-house production style. His work with Griselda Records and the founding of the Black Soprano Family collective showcased a maturation in his sound and narrative style. This period also marked the end of Benny as ‘Benny’ and the rise of ‘Benny the Butcher’.

The release of ‘My First Brick’ in 2016 under Griselda was a statement. It marked a shift towards a more ‘boom bap’ aesthetic, an ode to the raw, unpolished sound of early hip-hop. Benny’s collaboration with DJ Green Lantern on ‘Butcher on Steroids’ in 2017 and his subsequent work, including the highly acclaimed ‘Tana Talk 3’ in 2018, solidified his place in the upper echelons of the hip-hop world. ‘Tana Talk 3’, with its introspective lyrics and top-notch production, was not just an album; it was a milestone, a testament to Benny’s journey, his struggles, and his triumphs.

2019 was another landmark year for Benny with the release of ‘The Plugs I Met’, an EP that saw him collaborate with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. The critical acclaim for this EP was a clear indicator of Benny’s growing influence in the hip-hop community. His management deal with Roc Nation was the cherry on top, a recognition of his talent and his potential to shape the future of hip-hop.

Benny’s journey hasn’t been without its share of personal challenges. The shooting incident in 2020 and his ongoing battle with asthma are testaments to his resilience. Despite these setbacks, he has continued to create, to inspire, and to tell the stories that need to be told.

As we look forward to future albums, one can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation. What stories will Benny tell us this time? What truths will he unravel? One thing is for certain: whatever Benny the Butcher brings to the table, it will be raw, it will be real, and it will be undeniably him. His music is not just a collection of tracks; it’s a chronicle of a life lived on the edge, a narrative tapestry woven with the threads of struggle, survival, and ultimately, triumph. Benny the Butcher isn’t just a rapper; he’s a storyteller, a poet of the streets, a chronicler or life’s experiences.

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