What do you get when you mix a Nottingham-born-rapper with wit and lyricism? Nothing actually. But if there was some kind of grandiose prize for a Nottingham-born-rapper with wit and lyricism, I’m sure Benny Diction would make decent candidate. If you are unaware of whom Benny Diction is, where have you been for the last two years? He currently promotes and co-hosts the monthly hip-hop night “Fat Gold Chain” alongside Solocypher in London. Which is arguably one of the best live hip-hop nights in the London Scene.
But, back to the review, Mr Diction’s debut album, “Hard Graft, Arts & Crafts and Hearty Laughs” is a mouthful to say, as it is to hear. It is a collection of forward-thinking-arty-raps that is more “conscious” than those with their pseudo-revolutions. He effortless blends aesthetics with content and the stunning artwork of his album sleeve adds the finishing touches. His seamlessly brash Northern drawls lends it self to making words that should not rhyme, rhyme. “I’m so dope sometimes it so hard to look past me/ Just thoughts from a dude who likes a drink and pasty!”
Whilst sonically the album ventures into new territory, but that early nineties boisterous bravado still bleeds itself throughout the album. Tracks like “Still Would” featuring Ro Jista where the duo rap about tales of sleeping with undesirable women echoes the Pharcyde’s, “Oh Shit!” It is his mischievousness and his ability to drop the ego, in order to “play” that makes this debut album wholly refreshing. Yet he still reminds the listener of his lexical abilities and exemplifies the mantra of “rhythm and poetry”, as found on “The Woods” a melancholic tale of finding out he is Jesus incarnate.
Whilst this may not be his first release, he previously put out the “Excuse Me” EP in 2011 and admittedly this is not for all lovers of hip-hop. But, if you are up for some progressive beats with lyrical bravery as displayed on the album’s lead single, “Beer Goggles & Rose-Tinted Specs“. “Hard Graft, Arts & Crafts and Hearty Laughs” might, just might challenge your ears.
By: Janine Francois
“Excuse Me” EP: http://thepunningclan.bandcamp.com/album/benny-diction-excuse-me
“Beer Goggles” video: