I have to be honest, I had never heard of Benny the Butcher before this album dropped. However, I did listen to the album Wwcd from his rap group Griselda; I just had no idea he was part of the group. I figured any artists signed to Shady Records have to be decent at the very least. This is only Benny’s second studio album, but his long list of mixtapes, EPs, and collaborations show that he’s not new to the game. Burden of Proof opens up with its title track, and instantly I was hooked like a bass devouring a rubber worm.
In case you never listened to Benny before, don’t expect autotuned lyrics over a generic trap beat. You’re getting the exact opposite. Raw, meaningful lyrics over a BPM around 80-90 is more Benny’s style. Got to give Hit-Boy credit on the production here. He’s been killing it lately between Nas’ King’s Disease and his eight songs on Big Sean’s Detroit 2. Right off the bat, this album gives me a vintage Roc-A-Fella feel. Think Jay-Z back when he was slinging booger sugar.
My Top 3 Tracks
3. Thank God I Made It (feat. Queen Naija)
There were a few contenders for the number three spot, but I’m a sucker for a beat that utilizes vocal chops. This is probably be the most authentic track on the entire album. Benny raps about how he was raised by a single mother, had to protect his family, and how he sees his late brother when he looks into his nephew’s eyes. Queen Naija sings the chorus about how we’re all going to make it.
2. One Way Flight (feat. Freddie Gibbs)
Once again, Hit-Boy sucked me in with the vocal chops. Benny is in his bag when he raps “What’s a stage with no mic and no voice of a poet? What’s more important, the flower or the soil that grow it?” I can’t tell you what’s more important, but what I can say is that it’s rare to see lyrics with a deeper meaning nowadays. It’s refreshing when a rapper includes topics other than money, pussy, and drugs in their bars (although those are mentioned as well). Freddie Gibbs rounds off the track by delivering a solid chorus, rapping “I fuck with them hoes, I know she hated that. You gon’ cry in that Toyota or this Maybach?” I think we all know the answer to that.
1. Burden of Proof
The title track has got to be my favorite song on the LP. It sets the tone for the album, with the beat taking you back to the ’90s. Hit-Boy shows off his musical genius with some electric guitar transitioning into horns with a little organ thrown in there for good measure. Benny kicks it off by rapping “Last year was about branding, this one about expanding.” This track is a hustler’s anthem.
Album Rating: 8.1/10
Benny goes toe-to-toe with some of the greatest lyricists currently out there with Burden of Proof. The deep bars, raw flow, and superb production result in an incredible sophomore album for the Buffalo, New York native.
Check out the tracklist on Spotify below.
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