Home Taping Is Killing Music Month Presents : Benefit – B.E.N.E.F.I.T.
This one might have flown under many peoples’ radars. Benefit epitomizes the term ‘bedroom emcee’ and in 2000 he trumped over 800 others in a Chuck D-sponsored contest on Rapstation.com. Each emcee had to submit a track that explored the pros and cons of online file-sharing and the use of Napster to do so – Benefit’s attempt won by a country mile, and he used the $5000 prize money to begin building his own ‘real’ studio.
However this album, recorded on a regular little computer mic, soon began whizzing all over the net, with the very program that Benefit praised playing a huge part in its spread. With his advertising budget matching his studio budget – goose egg – this was a tremendous look for Ben, and resulted in many people who may otherwise not even known of his existence checking out his work. The main argument for the support of filesharing right?
It seems though that with the demise of Napster, Benefit has quietly faded into the background as well, and there isn’t a lot of info online about him save for old articles about his Rapstation triumph. He does have a myspace page, but its carrying the same info as anything that you can pull up on a google search – there doesn’t seem to be any new music around.
So we’re left with “B.E.N.E.F.I.T.” and its two main singles to remember Benefit by. ‘If I Owned A Midget’ is pretty self explanatory, with Benefit’s non-pc rhymes being delivered over a beat that really would be more at home on ‘Who’s Line Is It Anyway”; ‘Warp To World 6-9’ meanwhile is his ode to Nintendo’s favorite plumber laid over the game’s theme tune – an idea that predates Smif’n’Wessun’s ‘Super Brooklyn’ by a couple of years. The rest of the album is surprisingly good, both in terms of sound quality and the beats and emceeing. I also tacked on a half a dozen ‘netcee’ battles that I also grabbed from cyberspace at the same time I got this album.
Benefit – B.E.N.E.F.I.T.