Released just over a year ago, Benny's second studio album, Burden of Proof is the best record to come out since its release. Produced entirely by Hit-Boy who has been on fire the last two years, Burden of Proof may serve as his highest accolade alongside Benny's. Along with the rest of Griselda, Benny has been scorching hot since 2018 and is seeming to only get bigger and better. With Tana Talk 4 allegedly being on the way it seems Benny will only add to his elite catalog, with Burden of Proof remaining at the top. Not to spoil the album too much already but I believe this record will still be played twenty years from now and will be revered as a classic.
The intro and self titled track, Burden of Proof gets things started with an intense instrumental that builds up to a beat switch that is even more dramatic and boastful, setting the tone for the whole record; Benny The Butcher is back, and he is better than ever. With his distinct tenacity Benny raps about how this is just the beginning for him despite all he's gone through, and discusses everything he wants to accomplish, all over an intricate but aggressive instrumental that is perfect for this setting. On Where Would I Go Benny reflects on the dangerous life he lived but how all of his big risks paid off. The instrumental is light with not too much going on but has a nice soul sample woven in, which is perfect for Rick Ross who delivers a verse just as luscious as Hit-Boy's instrumental.
Sly Green is one of Benny's most vicious tracks with a flashy instrumental and a delivery that is hungrier than ever. Once again Benny is reflecting on street life and everything he has been able to earn in his life. His flow is raw and his signature braggadocio returns as he is able to show you the life of wealth he is living now with his lyricism. Hit-Boy's genius shows on the production of One Way Flight, with the angelic vocal sample he loops then builds a luxurious and incredible instrumental around. Benny's aggression is prominent and discusses everything he's been through in his life and Freddie Gibb's chorus compliments it very well. Like the rest of the album Benny's lyricism is descriptive and his wordplay clever, just like Freddie who surprises us with a verse just when you think the tracks going to end. Freddie is also incredible with some great lyricism, a raw flow and memorable lines, and everything culminates for one of, if not Benny's best track to date.
Hit-Boy slows down the pace a bit and classes it up on Famous. Benny details all of his accomplishments, but says he only felt famous in the streets. His lyricism is on another level and although it would've been nice if it was a longer track, Benny is able to paint you a vivid picture of his life and how he feels in less than two minutes. Timeless was released as a single prior to the album with big time features from Lil Wayne and Big Sean. Benny raps about his legacy and how he'll be around forever over the polished and vibrant instrumental. Benny's chorus could've been better but Lil Wayne makes up for it with an incredible verse. Weezy's funny punchlines and complex double entendres are prevalent and Big Sean's verse is good too, but compared to Benny and Wayne it's a little weak.
Another soulful sample from Hit-Boy is worked into New Streets, where Benny raps about growing up poor, his life drug dealing and the repercussions of it. Not only that but Benny is able to spin it in a positive life rapping about the lessons he's learned and being able to learn from the bad and reflect on the good. It's refreshing to hear Benny discuss a grim topic filled with much pain but be able to turn it into positives for himself. On Over The Limit Hit-Boy hits us with more climactic and triumphant instrumentals. Benny is hungry as hell here and he has lyricism to match with typical brags and introspection but is able to change it up with the way he describes it vividly, not to mention a solid chorus from DOM KENNEDY.
Trade It All is an incredible moment of reflection from Benny. The instrumental is triumphant and filled with boastful horns and Benny raps his road to the top but how it was tough with all the friends he lost along the way. However he is able to put a positive and motivational spin on the tragedies he's seen, saying he'd trade everything he's gotten just to have them back, just to grind through it all again with them. Once again you can picture every single bar he drops due to his illustrative lyricism. Once again Benny is introspective on Thank God I Made It, paying respect to his mother who raised him alone. Queen Naija's chorus is beautiful as she sings about chasing her dreams and how she's just happy to have made it. Benny also raps about his late brother in some of his deepest and most chilling bars to date, wishing that he was still here to see all his accolades.
The following track War Paint has a more slowed instrumental that is scored with another angelic vocal sample. Benny is rapping about his rags to extreme riches story with a great chorus from Westside Gunn who fits perfectly onto this song. Conway The Machine comes in and raps about how hard he works and how privleged he feels to have gotten all the opportunities he's had since making it, particularly about meeting JAY-Z and Beyoncé. He raps about how his wife cried upon meeting them and he didn't know if it was because "She was such a fan, or if in that moment she realized I'm the mot*****cking man." Conway also expresses how grateful he is to have survived being shot in the face without being paralyzed. War Paint is a super touching moment from the Griselda boys as they all get more personal than normal. The closing track, Legend, is perfect as Benny talks about how he knows he's a legend now. Hit-Boy scores this track very well yet again as Benny flexes his superior pen game recounting his struggles and rapping about how he wants his roses while he can still smell them.
Hit-Boy's fantastic, lavish production that just commands your attention is the perfect score for Benny The Butcher. He also assembled a small crop of features who all performed amazingly, making each track feel even more complete, with Freddie Gibbs and Conway The Machine being the real standouts. Benny's lyricism and storytelling is vivid throughout the record as you could literally picture in your head every scene he depicts. Not to mention his wordplay and double entendres are also on another level which just contributes to Benny's elite pen. This record proves yet again that Benny's tenacity is unmatched as well. Benny's coming of age story about everything he had to endure to get to where he is is a story of hustle determination and pain, and Benny does a great job of telling you, letting us as the listeners know he gives everything his one hundred percent effort.