Music is only as good as the artists that create it. An artist is only as good as the stories he tells and the truth in which he delivers it. Introducing Jarren Benton, an ingenious artist breaking new ground for Hip Hop as we know it. Benton hails from Decatur Georgia, Americas deep South and represents Funk Volume, a movement of exciting new Hip Hop artists that are turning heads in the game.
With the long awaited release of his second album, the aptly titled “ My Grandma’s Basement”, Benton is still riding the wave that his previous album “Freebasing with Kevin Bacon” created, turning the industry onto this dark knight of Hip Hop. His single “ Skitzo” off his first album highlighted an in-your-face bravado that was the catalyst for the positive acclaim to follow, steering Benton’s career on a path he has dreamed of, but wasn’t expecting it as quickly as it happened. He has received serious head nods from industry heavyweights Erick Sermon and No I.D ( Kanye West, Common) and his showmanship has been referred to as a fusion between Prince, Marilyn Manson and Method Man. All of that a relative newcomer to the game.
His lyrical flow is a unique and his message is honest, authentic and at time pure comedy. Much like life can be at times, Benton personality of laughing in the face of his adversary and making the most out of the cards he’s been dealt with. From growing up often in the face of struggle and hardship, more often than not as a young man faced with grown man decisions, living in his grandmother’s basement proved to be the elixer his hip hop soul needed. Teaming up with Funk Volume catapulted Benton into the independent Hip Hop arena where his style, too edgy for mainstream, found its home amongst label mates Dizzy Wright, SwizZz and DJ Hoppa and set on to create cyphers, collaborations and ultimately a fresher outlet for what I like to call “Organic” hip hop.
Jarren Benton is preparing to visit Australia and New Zealand , alongside Dizzy Wright, for a series of concerts and appearances across the country in July and he is hyped about his return back Down Under. Kicking off the nationwide, 8-city tour on 19th July Benton is beyond excited to share his new album with Australia and party with his fans down here. One thing that is guaranteed with this Hip Hop wildcard is that nothing is guaranteed, he doesn’t plan, he lives, he doesn’t perform, he plays out his energy and delivers his message and music the way it was intended, The Jarren Benton way!
So awesome to speak with you Jarren…….your impending tour of Australia is creating grand excitement within our hip hop community….What are your expectations of an Aussie crowd and what can we expect from Jarren Benton?
Hey Ms Hennessey, I fucking love that name ( laughs ) – man I am so excited about coming back to Australia again. You can expect a lot wiling out, a real turnt up show you know. I love to get the crowds hyped and bringing their energy out so their interaction is really important. Im one of those rappers man that doesn’t like just sitting on the stage so you can expect some stage diving, hoping on a bar or two …..you can expect a lot that’s all I’m saying ( laughs).
This is our second time in Australia and I am not bullshitting when I say this but the energy down there with your crowds is fucking insane for real ( laughs). When I found out that we were coming back to Australia I was so happy man, you don’t know how I have been anticipating returning and bringing it to your crowds again. I just love it.
You represent a totally original & unique Hip Hop movement / crew called Funk Volume, which consists of yourself, Dizzy Wright, SwizZz and DJ Hoppa. I caught the Funk Volume 3 cypher on YouTube with Team Backpack – WOW – You guys seriously brought it on a whole other level !!! And spitting in a laundry room ( laughs) I loved it ….
Hahaha that cypher was crazy man, just lyrical purity with the Team Backpack crew so big shout outs to them for bringing the heat with my crew Funk Volume. You know that whenever a group of lyricists and rappers with our energy level get together we going to take it to a whole other place, don’t matter where it is when going to spit that fire and have a great time doing what we do.
Funk Volume 3 w/ Team BackPack cypher
Let’s talk about your new release album “ My Grandma’s Basement “ ….interesting title? How did this come about and how does its significance bleed into the album?
(Laughs) You know what I named it that because I felt it was significance to what was going on at the time in my life. My previous album ” Freebasing with Kevin Bacon” was just me dumbing out and making music with no real message or subject matter, and the feedback I was getting was people saying that I was a really dope lyricist but that my subject matter was dumb as shit etc. Now it didn’t matter to me as I enjoyed the music I was making and it was how I felt and approached life at that time or take it personal. But with My Grandmas Basement I wanted to show people that I had a different side to me and that I could create music that held significance and share some of those emotions I experienced at the time. When I was living in my Grandma’s basement I was 23 and I had lost my job, had my first child on the way and I had nothing. I was still aspiring to be a hip hop artist at the time too so you gotta think I got a child on the way, I’m in a my grandmas basement like what the fuck you know ( laughs), it’s not a good look! So many feelings came out of that you know, I was feeling depressed and hopeless a lot of the time, but it also gave me the balls to commit to my hip hop career too and that’s how I got my biggest push. So a lot of the retrospective songs on the album reflect the emotions I was going through at that time in my grandma’s basement. My grandma was amazing for letting me even live in her basement man!
You hail from Decatur, Georgia and have been heralded for sharing showmanship in the company of Prince, Marilyn Manson and Method Man! How does holding court with those artists sit with you and how true would you say those comparisons are to your energy onstage?
You know what I would say that what you have read about me and those comparisons that have been made about me are totally correct because, and not trying to come off negatively but those artists just don’t give a fuck when they are one stage you know. That to me is what a true artist that is immersed in their music does and they just let it the fuck out. I mean old school Prince used to rock a trench coat, speedos and high heel boots and go out stage doing the damn thing you know ( laughs) . Same with Marilyn Manson, he is pantyhose and cutting himself on stage , you know , I mean I’m not cutting myself or wearing pantyhose and shit but the fact that they don’t care and are just into their music is what appeals to me and the way I am about my style. That energy is what inspires me and that how I would best describe who I am – I just get in my zone and go for it!
What is Hip Hop to you Jarren?
Hip Hop to me is a lifestyle, it’s like when I first discovered hip hop I was 5 years old and it didn’t just grabbed me at that age , it possessed me you know what I’m saying. I would like come home every day and I would be so in tuned that I knew the exact time that Rap City would come on BET and I would watch it from start to finish, learning raps, watching the artists do their thing , wishing I was them ( laughs). Hip Hop to me is a language you speak, the way you walk and talk and carry yourself, how you do shit, it’s so much more than just music! Hip Hop can describe you as a person so it’s bigger than just the sound, it’s a life!
Official Music Video – Skitzo
Any producers you enjoy with and / or wish to work with on future projects?
Right now I am sticking to working with my in-house producers at Funk Volume but I do aspire to work with a lot of producers as my career progresses. I am a huge fan of DJ Premier, Dr Dre, LP and I aspire to hope to work with a lot of dope producers but for now I am just keeping it in-house and keeping it Funk Volume but do I have hope that I get to work with those producers, hell yes I do, it would be an honour one day!
If you could take 5 albums with you into the afterlife which ones would they be and why?
You know what’s crazy Ms Hennessey, I’m a hip hop artist but I’m a huge fan of rock music so I’m going with a very diverse selection here okay … here goes …. I gotta take David Bowies “ The Rise & Fall of Ziggy Sawdust”, I gotta take Eminem’s “Slim Shady” , Outkast, Radio Head and I gotta take ( long pause) …..maybe some Al Green. You know I feel like I’m in the afterlife so I gotta take some shit that means something right (laughs).
Thank you for your time Jarren and looking forward to your future projects and seeing you in Australia soon.
Thank you Ms Hennessey for your interview and I appreciate your support!
For more on Jarren Benton visit: www.myfunkvolume.com/artist/jarren-benton
Jarren Benton Tour Dates – Australia & New Zealand 2013
- Friday 19th July – BRISBANE, Conniston Lane (Under 18’s 5pm-9pm), (Over 18’s 10pm-2am) Tickets from www.oztix.com
- Saturday 20th July – SYDNEY, Metro Theatre (All Ages) Tickets from www.ticketek.com.au
- Sunday 21st July – AUCKLAND, Shadows Bar, University of Auckland Tickets fromwww.ticketmaster.co.nz
- Monday 22nd July – GOLD COAST, The Beergarden Tavern (Over 18’s) Tickets fromwww.ticketmaster.com.au
- Wednesday 24th July – CANBERRA, Meche Nightclub (Over 18’s) Tickets from www.ticketmaster.com.au
- Thursday 25th July – PERTH, Rosemount Hotel (Over 18’s) Tickets from www.ticketmaster.com.au & www.oztix.com
- Friday 26th July – ADELAIDE, Fowlers Live (All Ages) Tickets from www.venuetix.com.au
- Saturday 27th July – MELBOURNE, Prince Bandroom (Under 18’s 1pm-5pm) (Over 18’s 6pm-10pm) Tickets from www.ticketmaster.com.au
Always Hip Hop,