Every once in a while, there comes along a piece of music that reaches out and captivates you. Sometimes that’s in a polite, beautiful way. Sometimes that’s in a shocking, “Holy shit” way. This is the latter.
It’s not like nobody has rapped about killing their ex-girlfriend before. Eminem famously did so on “Kim,” one of the most haunting hip-hop tracks of its day.
This is what “Kim” sounds like today, delivered by hip-hop’s new angel of death, Jarren Benton.
The fact is: Benton is a rapper with the talent to change the game. He does owe much to his producer, the Korean-born Kato. Together, these two have the potential to be an important tandem.
You don’t have to love everything Benton talks about. You probably won’t. He’s a cross between Tyler The Creator and Eminem in terms of lyrical content and intensity, comparisons he acknowledges on the album. Among his favorite words: “murder,” “rape,” and “faggot.” This music isn’t pleasant. It’s violent, brutal, disgusting and completely unapologetic.
What makes him great though, going beyond just what he talks about, is the way he blends multiple rap influences.
He’s got enough of that mainstream hip-hop sound to please the Ace Hood- and Rick Ross-loving crowd, he’s got Lil Wayne’s similes, he’s got enough trap to be edgy and he’s got enough alt twisted in to keep it from sounding like everything else you hear on rap radio today.
That’s why I think Jarren Benton is important. His words may be a tough listen, but he is an excellent rapper who knows how to bridge influences and create visceral, intense music that I think — as time goes on — is going to matter.
That’s why I have My Grandmas Basement (sic,) his recently released debut, rated as my No. 2 album of 2013. This is a must-listen.