Benny The Butcher Details His Shooting For The 1st Time
UPDATE: Benny The Butcher has clarified the release date of Tana Talk 4. It is now arriving March 11. “Tana Talk 4 dropping March 11, not February 11,” he said on a recent Instagram Live, as reported by HipHopDX. “I smoke too much weed — say the wrong things.”
ORIGINAL FEBRUARY 4 STORY: Last week, Benny The Butcher rapped about bringing “validity” to the Griselda Records movement and to Hip-Hop. The Buffalo, New York MC is a living survival story, with a career that dates back to the early 2000s mixtape scene. In the last five years, The Butcher has become a star not just of Griselda or his city, but throughout Hip-Hop. A former underground rapper in his upper thirties is breaking through with authentic content, hard deliveries, and a sound that honors the legacies of Wu-Tang Clan, JAY-Z, Mobb Deep, and Biggie Smalls. On November 15, 2020, Benny nearly lost it all after he was shot during an attempted robbery in Houston, Texas. The artist who had just released Burden Of Proof with Hit-Boy, was targeted in a robbery outside of a Wal-Mart that left him struck in the leg.
Appearing on The Breakfast Club, Benny spoke about the incident for the first time. Near the 25:00 mark, Charlamagne Tha God asks, “Do you think artists can still be in the streets while maintaining a Rap career?” The question comes after Young Dolph and Drakeo The Ruler were each murdered in late 2021, just miles from their home towns. Nipsey Hussle, Pop Smoke, King Von, and other artists have also lost their lives amid rising careers.
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Benny responds, “F*ck no. Especially if you’re a real street ni**a; f*ck no—maybe the dudes who are trying to act like they’re real street ni**as. I’m a street ni**a; if I’m in the streets, ni**as think I’m back.” He continues, “That ain’t no place for guys like us. Real people back home, that’s still doing what they’re doing, they understand that. Ain’t nobody who loves you, who got care and concern for you, is gonna expect you to come to the hood just to show them that you care, just to show them that you’re really like that. Come on, we’re grown-ass men. I’m trying to work; I’m trying to make it so that you ain’t gotta be in that mothaf*cka.” Benny confirms that his full-time residence is no longer in Western New York, though he has a condo in the city. He explains, “Buffalo’s like that; my ni**as are still in that sh*t, and I’m guilty by association, so you gotta be careful.”
Benny moves the discussion back to 2020, when he warns of retribution for any foul play towards him. “If anybody do something to me, they’re gonna deserve it—deserve what comes with it. Even the sh*t in Houston, them ni**as did some renegade sh*t.”
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DJ Envy asks The Butcher to further describe what exactly happened. “I forgot my mask [after I tried to enter] Wal-Mart. I went back to get my mask, and a ni**a behind me was like ‘drop that.’ I looked back, and it’s like a short ni**a behind me with a gun.” Asked if he was alone, the artist explains, “I wasn’t by myself; I was like with two of my homeboys. One of ’em walked back [to the car] with me, the other one [went inside] Wal-Mart. You know this is the first time I’m talking about this sh*t publicly? That’s what it’s for to come up here [to The Breakfast Club]. My other man, that walked with me, they was on him before they was on me. So by the time they got on me they already had my boy. Ni**a was like, ‘Drop that.’ I look back, there’s a ni**a with a gun. I kinda like hit the gun down and took off on him.” Benny allegedly swatted away the pistol and tried to escape. “I ran back to the whip; we in a Rolls Royce [SUV]. By the time I get there, somebody else came with the slammer on ’em. I’m like, man, they got me. So that’s when they backed up, looked around, and [shot] me in my leg.”
Benny opines on why he believes he was shot during the attempted robbery. “I don’t think they shot me for running, to be honest. I don’t know; I can’t speak for them. But I feel like…it was a small dude, and these was young dudes. Before I got shot I was 195 [pounds]; I lost a lil’ weight. I feel like ni**as didn’t really wanna get close to me ’til I was disabled [because I would resist]; that’s what I think it was.”
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Asked about how the incident impacted his moves a year and change later, Benny says, “I be with more ni**as now [and] tighten up security. I’m gonna be honest with you: you can’t protect yourself from this sh*t.” Like recent chilly accounts of the December 2021 attack on Drakeo, Benny describes a swarm of perpetrators orchestrating the incident. “Ni**as came like the army.” Benny also says that he must defend himself with care. “It’s about not putting yourself in situations, and it’s about having a deterrent. If one of my homies is pulling out and [shooting back], it’s too late; we already made the wrong move. If he gotta shoot at somebody, we already f*cked up; we’re already in the wrong situation.”
Asked about retaliation, Benny points out that nobody posted about the robbery online. As Griselda artists have worked with H-Town rappers like Sauce Walka, Benny states, “I love Houston. I know a lot of dope artists for Houston, so of course ni**as hit my phone, and sh*t like that.” Charlamagne jokes that Benny should have reached out to Rap-A-Lot Records founder J. Prince, a well-connected man known for solving street issues in Texas. “I don’t want none of that after this type of sh*t.”
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The conversation moves to Benny’s recent signing to Def Jam Records, through new executive Snoop Dogg. “My content is gonna switch. I’m not in the streets every day, so my content is gonna be different,” he explains of his upcoming major label debut as a solo artist. “A lot of people think that f*ckin’ Def Jam gave me $3 and told me, ‘Ni**a, you owe 30 albums.’ But they trusted me to do what I’ve been doing. It’s just more of that, but fuller.” At the top of the interview, Benny appears to confirm a $1.5 million deal with the famed New York City label. The agreement came after Benny was courted by RCA Records, who recently worked with Freddie Gibbs & Madlib. Benny says that RCA’s offer reduced during 2020 negotiations.
Tana Talk 4 will arrive February 11 (as Benny confirms), distributed by EMPIRE. On the most recent episode of Ambrosia For Heads‘ What’s The Headline podcast, lead video single “Johnny P’s Caddy” is discussed at length: