Buffalo emcee Benny the Butcher ending the first month of 2024 by releasing his 4th full-length LP & major label debut under Def Jam Recordings. Being in the game for 2 decades already, it wouldn’t be until 2016 where he alongside his cousins Westside Gunn & Conway the Machine would take the culture by storm off projects like Tana Talk 3 & The Plugs I Met. Harry Fraud came in for a sequel to the latter following the mature Burden of Proof & finally, Tana Talk 4 took it back to the basement a couple years back. But for the butcher’s Def Jam opus, he’s having Hit-Boy produce half of it & leaving the other half to The Alchemist.
“Jermaine’s Graduation” sets the tone of what’s to come with a luxurious instrumental explaining that he doesn’t need a trophy because he is the trophy whereas “Bron” goes into a triumphant boom bap direction likening himself as the LeBron James of this rap shit. “Big Dog” featuring Lil Wayne works in this reversed loop talking about being too dogs, but then the title track featuring Kyle Banks on the hook giving back to the game accompanied by a soul sample & some kicks & snares.
Meanwhile, “T.M.V.T.L. (Trust More Valuable Than Love)” has some dynamic production throughout expressing the importance of trust over love just before “Back Again” returns to the boom bap with additional vocals from Snoop Dogg talking about being gangstas. “1 Foot In” featuring Stove God Cook$ starts the 2nd leg of the album admitting he was a foot out the game after that freestyle with Funkmaster Flex over a hard-hitting beat leading into “Buffalo Kitchen Club” featuring Armani Caesar blending these piano chords & hi-hats together reminding that nobody fucking with them.
“Pillow Talk & Slander” featuring Babyface Ray & Jadakiss sees the trio telling their older selves to watch out for these hoes over a rich trap instrumental while “How to Rap” takes it back to the basement showing everyone how it’s done. “Griselda Express” featuring Conway the Machine & Rick Hyde begins the encore of the LP by saying they ain’t stopping on top of a solemn beat & “Big Tymers” featuring Peezy ties things up with 1-last trap cut boasting their current statuses.
A lot people who started with Benny or played a part ain’t make it since some are no longer with us, in prison, taking other paths or others that just wasn’t built for it. With the help of Hit-Boy & Uncle Al, he puts the biggest lesson he took from that on full display for his major label debut. The production is versatile, the guests match his intensity & the Butcher inviting y’all to his world.