“The judge give you life and later that day, he goin’ be playing golf,” explains Benny The Butcher on “Crowns For Kings,” one of the introductory tracks on his 24-minute, seven-track release The Plugs I Met. Making an industry from his own intuition, Benny The Butcher is a closed-fist treat where open-air threats and precious stones lay the groundwork for his storytelling.
Only six of the seven tracks have a musical component behind them, the first track simply called “Intro Skit” where a narrator describes how “natives would put a blade into the ice, and the wolf would come and lick the blade.” It tricks the wolf into thinking that the predator is getting a meal while simultaneously killing it, the narrator asks the question, “You blame the wolf for trying to eat? Or do you blame the person that put the knife in the ice.” It is similar to an old Wu-Tang spiritual where the method behind the madness is explained in riddles but leads a near perfect transition into the features from Black Thought, Jadakiss, 38 Spesh, Conway, RJ Payne, Pusha T, and INDIA that back Benny The Butcher up in this steel army of lyrical aggressors.
The production side of The Plugs I Met collaborates from DJ Shay, Daringer, Beat Butcha, and Alchemist who all have this distinction behind their performances. The star of the show is, of course, the Buffalo native Benny The Butcher who is tough and rugged behind a gentle voice that is almost soothing in some way. It is a double-edged sword, similar to the one that kills the wolf described on “Intro Skit” where Benny The Butcher takes a commanding lead.
Shown especially on the track “Took The Money to the Plug’s House” where he rides the beat and is colder than ice cream in the Buffalo nights. He describes on the track’s hook, “I took the money to the plug’s house, I ran in, scraped up the money. Then double taped the money, walk in, speeding to a lick.” Somehow behind all the underlying gang activity in his writing, the instrumentation is almost as charismatic as Benny The Butcher and uses a running bass line that conflicts with these higher-pitched chords. The boom-bap percussive set is simple but hits as hard as a one-two combination punch from a heavyweight champ.
Before the checks clear on The Plugs I Met, Benny The Butcher puts himself not on a marble pedestal, but instead under the cover of shadowed nightfall. He is subtle but carries a big stick almost as if he was more keen on the details rather than abrasiveness. In a strange balance of both aggressive descriptions and a calm voice, Benny The Butcher gives the listener a buck 50 and disappears before anyone sees anything.