Benny the Butcher adds NYC show; he & Westside Gunn have new projects out now
Buffalo, NY's Griselda Records crew have been established for a bit but they've been especially unstoppable lately. If you're unfamiliar, the label was founded by brothers Westside Gunn and Conway in 2014, and they've more recently recruited Benny the Butcher. The trio have been touring together this year, and both Benny and Westside Gunn recently put out must-hear projects. This recent OkayPlayer article is a good primer:
The label’s sound zeroes in on a mystic slice of rap’s past — a time when Ghostface Killah splattered imagery with violent aplomb over slow, dark soul. (The Alchemist, an early champion of Griselda, has a song with Conway and Westside Gunn fittingly titled: “’94 Ghost Shit.”) In-house producer Daringer, a master of the mournful soul loop, couches every graphic verse with swelling slow burners. He made the lion’s share of Westside’s official debut studio release, FLYGOD, setting the tone and character for Griselda records thereafter. The label has released over a dozen albums and mixtapes, each project having the gritty New York City street rap sound popularized in the ’90s. In the span of three years, Griselda went from slinging hoodies out of a Buffalo living room to signing a deal with Eminem’s Shady Records in 2017.
Gunn and Conway were the first stars of Griselda. But right behind them came another MC — Benny The Butcher, a rapper who surfaced as an instinctive storyteller; he is less flashy yet able to shoulder posse cuts with intense imagery. His projects, particularly 2016’s My First Brick and 2017’s Butcher On Steroids with Green Lantern, earned him “secret weapon” status within the crew. It was momentum he rode into Tana Talk 3, the steller album he dropped at the end of 2018. Produced entirely by The Alchemist and Daringer, Tana Talk 3 features the bleak soundscape that Griselda has perfected. Lyrically, Benny stepped it up another level: spitting some of the most vivid raps about street life ever put down on wax, rapping with the same matter-of-fact stoicism that made Prodigy great.
The trio's Almighty Tour hit the Northeast (including NYC) back in June, and they're playing an LA show (7/25) and Oakland's Smoked Out Summer BBQ II (7/27) later this month. Benny has also announced his next NYC show: September 16 at Sony Hall. Tickets for that show go on sale Thursday (7/18) at noon with an AmEx presale starting Wednesday (7/17) at noon.
Benny's latest project is this year's The Plugs I Met EP, and for fans of '90s NYC rap, it's one of the year's best rap releases thus far. It has guest verses by Black Thought and Pusha T, both of whom are also on the year's other big '90s-style rap album (Freddie Gibbs & Madlib), and it also features Conway and a NYC vet that Benny definitely looked up to, Jadakiss. Hearing Benny's bassy, booming voice up against an impressive list of forebears like Kiss, Thought, and Push is all you need to realize how much justice Benny does to the music that inspired him.
Even more recently, the higher-voiced Westside Gunn dropped Flygod Is An Awesome God, featuring both Conway and Benny, as well as contributions from The Alchemist, Madlib, Raekwon, Evidence, Meyhem Lauren, DJ Muggs, and more. It's also a well-executed re-imagining of '90s New York rap, and if you haven't heard either of these projects, you can stream them both below.
Benny the Butcher -- 2019 Tour Dates
7/25 Los Angeles, CA Catch One*
7/27 Oakland, CA Smoked Out Summer BBQ II*
9/16 New York, NY Sony Hall
* - Griselda Records Almighty Tour