Benny the Butcher

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Benny the Butcher is part of Buffalo’s Griselda crew and behind Black Soprano Family, the two primary outlets for his tense narratives about street life. Like frequent collaborators Westside Gunn and Conway, he’s inspired most by hardcore mid-’90s hip-hop from his home state, including Wu-Tang Clan and Mobb Deep. A late bloomer by his genre’s standard, he hit his stride in his thirties with releases such as Tana Talk 3 (2018), The Plugs I Met (2019), and the critically acclaimed Burden of Proof (2020), followed by The Plugs I Met 2 (2021). A collaboration with J. Cole preceded 2022′s Tana Talk 4.
Jeremie Pennick knew by the age of ten that he wanted to be involved with music. He issued material in the late 2000s as B.E.N.N.Y., including the full-length projects The Mayor’s Back and Chains Bond. By then, he had initiated a long-term alliance with Westside Gunn and Conway as the Forerunners, a group that also included his brother, Machine Gun Black. The bond tightened in the mid-2010s as Benny helped build Westside’s Griselda Records, releasing material such as 2016′s My First Brick and the following year’s Green Lantern collaboration Butcher on Steroids, all while making regular contributions to other releases in the label’s catalog.
Tana Talk 3, a joint Griselda/Black Soprano Family recording produced by Alchemist and Griselda associate Daringer, brought Benny a new level of acclaim that stimulated continued growth throughout 2019. That year, Benny appeared with Westside and Conway on DJ Premier’s “Headlines,” released the Billboard-charting The Plugs I Met — featuring Black Thought, Jadakiss, and Pusha T — and signed a management deal with Roc Nation. Benny teamed up with producer Hit Boy for 2020′s Burden of Proof, which featured guest spots from Lil Wayne, Big Sean, Rick Ross, Freddie Gibbs, and more. The following year, he paired with beatmaker Harry Fraud for his sequel EP The Plugs I Met 2. He also released the 38 Spesh collaboration Trust the Sopranos and the solo EP Pyrex Picasso. “Johnny P’s Caddy,” a collaboration with J. Cole, appeared in 2022, in advance of Benny’s full-length Tana Talk 4. Benny then appeared on tracks by artists like Armani Caesar and Maxo Kream, as well as Black Soprano Family’s album Long Live DJ Shay. ~ Andy Kellman