One night many years ago at the Landsdowne Hotel a 17 year old rapper took to the stage at the monthly battle night. Hands down that night he was going to take out that battle with a unanimous vote. That was until the crowd watched as the fellow contestant he went head to head with outed him on stage for being under age and that 17 year old rapper got kicked out by management before he could finish and take the crown. That 17 year old was Benji.
Now with his second solo album under his belt and still as raw and honest and hilarious as he always has been. If Benji is not a rapper, nor an addict, Sarah Connor is also not a journalist, and this is not an interview, but it may just be one of the most poignant, funny and in yo’ face reads you come across.
Why is your new release called I’m not an addict?
My previous solo album was called “I’m Not A Rapper”. But it featured a lot of rapping. So I hope that answers ya question. My next one’ll probably be called “I’ve Never Been to Gaol.”
I remember you winning battles as a 17 year old- would you step back in the battle ring today? If not, then why not?
I’ll battle anyone at any time, any place. Depending on my mood. I dunno, I love and hate battling, it can be great fun but I get vexed at people who take it too seriously. Anyone can be made to look stupid from the right perspective, and anybody who relates emcee battling to any sort of gangsterism should be shot. And right now I’d rather make music than battle.
What did you learn from your previous releases that you’ve been able to put into the process of writing, making and getting this release together?
Nothing. Well not nothing but nothing that it would help any up-and-coming artists to know. Hard work and perseverance and sheer bloody-mindedness beats talent every time; and no matter how good you are at what you do there will still always be somebody out there getting paid more than you to do a worse job. And don’t take heroin.
You made your own beats as well? Tell us about sampling on the album? And what you go through to make beats.
I don’t go through much to make beats. Mum made me learn piano when I was a wee one and that shit sticks with ya, and my whole family’s musical. Sampling is something I’m weird about. I usually don’t wanna sample things and just do a total P. Diddy/Dr. Dre jack of a track but if I like a beat or a track enough my opinion 180’s and I usually just jack the whole track without so much putting a hi-hat in. I don’t like molesting already beautiful songs. Unless they ask for it.
Who are you working with currently and who are you doing live shows with currently? Tell us about the live shows.
Live shows are usually done with Kaoe backing me up and doing tracks and Skae on the decks – I can’t really describe em. You’ll just have to be there.
Was this a solo project or did you have the opportunity to collaborate with anyone?
There were collabs with Joey Gat, Pukz, Cence, Kaoe and my little brother, but the album as a whole was just a solo project. Whereas the PK Crew release had way more input and beats etc from Stats and the boys, my solo albums are just that.
As an independent artist what are the challenges you face that you don’t think apply to signed artists?
Lots. I don’t know, take ya pick. We don’t have any cocaine-snorting suits who will give us radio play and advertising and stadium shows and bi-sexual Dominican sex slaves of any gender in return for our souls and the souls of our first-born sons. So I take the obvious downs with the ups of being able to do what I want with my music and not having to worry that I’ll wake up one day with a shiny golden-eyed, fiery-breathed, crimson goat-horned Satan-spawn hovering over me saying “IT IS TIME!’
Is radio ready for Benji?
I doubt it. Hardly anybody ever is.
Catch the album here: iTunes
Or here: Web Store
Check Benji’s faceook here: /benjipkcrew