Since Benny’s album Burden of Proof was my favourite hip-hop album last year, I rushed to this project when it was released. If you’re one of the Griselda fans that heard The Plugs I Met, then you already know what Benny brings to the table when he’s rapping alongside some of the all-time greats. Benny’s built a name for himself as someone you can go to for that “real” New York rap. With a great track record and a growing following, I felt it was only fair to do a review of The Plugs I Met 2 by Benny The Butcher.
When Tony Met Sosa
This track really does feel like when Tony Montana met Alejandro Sosa in Scarface. I heard this record and pictured drug dealers in the 80s with white suits and bright coloured silk shirts that are only buttoned 3 quarters way up. I pictured gold chains around their necks and bare chest hair blowing in the wind. Essentially, I picture how some of my uncles dress for weddings right now. Just like Benny, they go against the grain of what’s popular but I can’t imagine them showing up in any other fashion.
Overall ft. Chinx
First off, R.I.P. Chinx! I didn’t read up on the features before this EP dropped so this was a pleasant surprise for me. If you’re familiar with Chinx, he was a late member of French Montana’s Coke Boys and what are the Coke Boys without some Harry Fraud production? This is one of my favourite songs on this project for sure. It was really nice to hear Chinx on something more current. Having someone else’s voice on the hook after Benny went and did what Benny does best added something to the track.
Plug Talk ft. 2 Chainz
This song has one of my favourite 2 Chainz verses in a while. He’s always got comical punchlines to me but every now and again, he pops out with a whole verse that makes me run it back*. This was one of those times. Chainz at one point says in his verse:
Put you in the hospital
Put logos on the stretcher
Glide on ‘em like Drexler
Slide on ‘em like home plate
I can’t lie I was lit* when I first heard this song so I got gassed* and played the whole song back from the beginning (I think they call that a wheel up in the UK). This record is hard but I feel like the Chainz verse stood out the most.
Live By It
This one’s a gritty record that reflects on the significance of carrying a piece when you’re in the hoods of Buffalo, NY. Pandemic or not, the streets are still very much the streets. If that’s the type of life you subscribe to, you live by the gun or you die by it. He says a lot of this stuff like it’s regular, it’s not. Benny’s just seen some things.
Talkin’ Back ft. Fat Joe
This one is a bit controversial because of the Fat Joe verse. Especially after the past few weeks where violence against the asian community has been highlighted. Fat Joe goes on to say:
And watch it spread like the Wuhan virus
Do ‘em dirty for the low like Wu-Tang ‘Sirus (ODB)
Are these the most offensive bars I’ve ever heard a rapper say? No. However, do the bars lack sensitivity in this current climate and probably didn’t have to be said? Yeah. He did immediately address this upon the release of the record mentioning that he did the verse a year ago and meant no harm to the asian community with what was said as that was what the virus was being called on the news at that time. Regardless of that fact though, those bars stood out more than the overall song to me.
This track sounds like a cinematic masterpiece. It really feels like part of a Scorsese movie score or something like that. I heard the record and imagined a scene with the main character of a mafia movie coming to terms with the sins he’s committed and the lives he’s had to take away while he drinks in the dark. Either you see the picture that was painted or don’t but this song is definitely my favourite from the EP. This is one of those tracks that Benny fans will gravitate to.
Longevity ft. French Montana & Jim Jones
Craziest part of this song to me is the features. If you don’t know the backstory, French Montana and Jim Jones have had beef for something like 15 year. Up until French’s CB5 that dropped last year, I didn’t think we’d actually see these two on a song together ever, let alone rapping together on someone else’s project. The power of Harry Fraud shines through again! I can’t see this record coming together without him.
Survivor’s Remorse ft. Rick Hyde
I think this is the survivor’s guilt Drake was referring to on Lemon Pepper Freestyle…but this sounded way more depressing and traumatic. If Drake’s definition sounded rough, this is a nightmare. The track is another dark and cinematic one. It’s something you’d play in the movie after the main character had to shoot one of his mans for a heavy betrayal. You really feel it when Benny says:
‘Cause I never love much, I just had a trunk full of trouble
Enough dirt for a shovel, and three hoes I had to juggle
I’ll keep it a band* here, all of that sounds traumatic, even the three hoes man. Juggling multiple women at once is actually some of the most exhausting stuff a man can do and that’s all without addressing the “trunk full of trouble” and doing “enough dirt for a shovel”. Benny really delivered on what I thought was the second best song on this project. Also big ups to Rick Hyde for that “colder than Quebec” bar. We want more Canadian references in hip-hop (by we, I mean me)!
Truth be told, I hear this one and can’t help but compare it to Legend off his last album and think that this just fell a bit short. It didn’t give me that same feeling I was hoping for. What I will say though, is that this song definitely confirmed that Benny’s heard the critics and doesn’t give a damn. If you don’t like that he does drug talk, turn off his music. He’s not losing sleep about it.
I usually give projects some time for me to live with them before I decide how I feel about them but after several listens I don’t think I’ll be saying this is my favourite Benny project. I think it does what it’s supposed to do though. As great of a rapper as he is, I don’t think the Harry Fraud beats necessarily challenged him to deliver something outside his comfort zone. Funny enough though, I still see it as an unconventional statement project. It’s not necessarily the statement project that will stand out amongst his other work but it’s a reminder that even though he was shot in the leg outside a Houston Walmart last year, he’s still Benny and he’s still really raps. I think a lot of people were expecting something different as far as his sound goes but Pusha T has been talking about the same content for years and I still love how he finds a new way to say cocaine on every project. Benny’s back and he plans to stick around.
Also before I close things out, I’ve been told some of you have no idea what I’m saying when I occasionally use slang so here’s a glossary…
Run it back* – to play a song back again
Gassed* – to get excited
Lit* – intoxicated or under the influence
Keep It A Band* – to be honest