Everybody Can't Go

Everybody Can't Go

Anyone thinking Benny the Butcher signing to Def Jam would inspire him to be more “mainstream” or “pop” is underestimating his intelligence. Steady, talented, 39 years old and relatively unknown until he was in his early thirties, he’s already a voice of reason and maturity for his fans in a world of hype. He doesn’t have to crack the mainstream; signing to Def Jam is proof that all this gritty, soul-sampling, old-school stuff might still have a place in the mainstream after all. Highlights on this Alchemist- and Hit-Boy-produced album include “TMVTL” (threatening), “Pillow Talk & Slander” (celebratory), and a title track where he admittedly does open a little space for something like a “commercial” hook, courtesy of Kyle Banks. He’s safer and more up-the-middle than his Griselda affiliate Westside Gunn (note the passing reference to watching MSNBC), but in that quiet confidence lie the fruits of his fabled grind. And while he might be telling the truth when he says he’s thinking of leaving Buffalo for somewhere warm (“BRON”), you know what they say—you can take the boy out of Buffalo, but…

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