When Idontknowjeffery first appears on the introductory track “Undefeated,” his vocals are a centerpiece for borderline comedy with his ad-libs that shine and monotone vocals over low-keyed instrumentals. He describes, “Swipe the credit card til that shit insufficient, I bought my bitch a business, ‘ooh girl no he didn’t,” in this often vulgar display of power. He moves on to switch hands with the microphone as Xavier Wulf emerges from the rafters like Sting with the bat. Xavier Wulf’s often high energy delivery clashes against Idontknowjeffery’s as sparks start flying even in the initial moments.
With production that comes from BOZ, HitKidd, MARCELO, Quintin Lamb, Safeboy, and KingZoe, there are more than enough cookers in the kitchen to chef up a complete meal of 12 tracks over 28 minutes. Bennington Forest is digestible, never seems to run too long, and actually demands to be instantly put on repeat with these addicting trade-offs from the two vocalists. On the electronic stutter-step track, “Twitch,” there is a perfect instrumental that borders on the lines of sporadic machines cluttering and overheating.
Hearing one-liners like “She Apple paid me four racks, yes sir I heart that. Forgot I just got carjacked, nigga where I park at?” invokes more laughter and it is a refreshing relief every time a rhyme is discovered after digging into the lyrics. But it is not just all jokes
Even some of the singles that were released like “SoHo (Freestyle)” and “One Punch Wulf” now fit into a nicely nestled spot where the doses and injections of shouts over rampant instrumentals are breaths of fresh air. It takes Bennington Forest from being just a joint project between two artists, into crafting this cohesive Diddy Bop through the mosh pit that an audience so desperately needs.
Over broken bones and stolen credit cards, Bennington Forest is more exciting and entertaining than it is profound. Where each verse piles on like loads of bricks, both Xavier Wulf and Idontknowjeffery are charismatic rhymers that appear as the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of hip-hop.