Released: 2018

Yo, Benny The Butcher’s burnin’ verses in “’97 Hov” is a telltale of how he maneuvered his way out of the trap game’s boiling pot and into the rap industry’s spotlight. The track resonates with a hustler’s mindset rooted in the mid-late 90s street ethos, epitomized by Jay-Z’s 1997 classic album, “In My Lifetime, Vol.1”.

Peep this, the lyric “I was born in ’84, but I’m like ’97 Hov” is Benny stating that, despite being born in 1984, his street mentality aligns more with ’97 Jay-Z, who was deep in the game, navigating his own transition from street hustler to rap icon. Benny also alludes to his own hustling past with the line “I went platinum off a brick,” applying music industry terms to his street dealings to emphasize the scale of his success in illegal ventures before hitting the rap scene.

Slippin’ into the next few lines, Benny drops knowledge on the paradox of street life – the dream of retiring with money only to find that, from a young age, they’ve gained more experience in illegal hustle than in legitimate cash flow. The line “On my George Town shit, rock the blue Hoya” refers to Georgetown University and their mascot, the Hoyas. It’s a symbol of transitioning from the hustle to more strategic moves, just like how students transition from high school to college.

Benny The Butcher '97 Hov

Benny’s hook “Freestyle for Clue, I feel like ’97 Hov” is a tribute to the iconic ’97 freestyle Jay-Z delivered on DJ Clue’s radio show. The interlude criticizes the deceptive braggadocio found in many rap lyrics, highlighting the current state of the game and the lack of authenticity.

The next verse elaborates Benny’s transformation process. Styling in a Versace, flexing chains and luxury cars, he’s living that rap high life. But, he ain’t got time to forget where he came from, as he drops lines like “They tried their best to stop us, we still winning” and “My watch look like a lighthouse, that’s right, I’ll explain,” he’s reminding us how far he’s come from the streets to the studio.

The final bars of “’97 Hov” are pure defiant assertions of Benny’s current status in the rap game. “I turned a deuce to a six, did Houdini tricks” – this ain’t just about magic, but the magic of making something out of nothing, turning small profits into gold mines. If the rap game is a battlefield, then Benny is confidently positioning himself as a veteran, ready to show the rookies how it’s done.

Essentially, “’97 Hov” by Benny The Butcher is a hip-hop testament to survival, resilience, and ambition, fueled by the spirit of the hustler, yet woven with the threads of the professional rapper. It’s an unfiltered narration of his journey from the streets to the studio, reminding everyone that he’s a product of the ‘90s hustle, but stamped with his own unique mark.