Super emcee Jarren Benton from Atlanta, GA surprised fans with news today that his new album Slow Motion Volume 2 will be released on Friday, July 22 via his new independent label, Benton Enterprises. The LP is Benton’s second and follows his 2015 Slow Motion Vol. 1 EP, which followed his debut, 2013’s My Grandma’s Basement (Funk Volume). There was never any question about if the dissolution of his former FV record home would negatively affect his career and momentum or not. He is such a great rapper and emcee that of course it wouldn’t.
For this official sophomore, Benton commits lyrical assault on the savage, hammering, thundering beats made by the many talented producers at work here: Kato, Rocnmayne, Analogic, The Coalition, Statik Selektah, and others. Not only that, Slow Motion Vol. 2 is filled with awesome guests too. Grafh, Dizzy Wright, Futuristic, Chris Webby, EarthGang, Locksmith, Chris Rivers and again others make the project an absolutely unforgettable one. Jarren Benton gets a little wild but also socially aware, however he’s always captivatingly lyrical. That’s his trademark.
It is true that Jarren and his homies partake in some macho chest-thumping at the top and further into the disc until the very end, but it’s broken up with several smarts and several great pieces of experiential wisdom. Jarren shows us his vulnerable side in “Scared” and that he is a real person after all, not some pushed corporate agenda like some rappers have allowed themselves to become at various points in their careers. In “My Word,” he goes for deeper meaning in life and decides to live for a better purpose; in “Dark Roads,” he fights the temptation to slip onto a bad path in life; and in “Distant,” he mourns a put-to-rest relationship.
“Anarchy” records on hip-hop film how blacks resort to violence largely because of crushing societal forces of alienation and ostracism. Jarren doesn’t justify or condone the violence obviously, but he helps us understand logically how and why it comes about. “Lost Kings” goes still further in criticizing the status quo that suppresses and exterminates blacks. Most effectively, “Aluminum Bat” is home to Jarren Benton’s true, must-heed sentiment saying that a sizable number of African Americans are wrongfully much more incensed when cops kill blacks than when blacks kill blacks, an occurrence just as common as if not more so than the former. Jarren ends everything by dedicating “Miss You” to his kids, who of course are away from him whenever he’s busy or on the road.
Jarren, all the guests, and all the producers on Slow Motion 2 have no doubt made classic quality material for this project that will be preserved throughout history for a number of good reasons. The strength of all the original, drum heavy productions is enormous, the guests do more than just show up and spit some bars (they actually make their spots memorable), and Jarren Benton is still that intense, sprawling madman-wordsmith with his rhymes that he has been since day one, not since volume one (nor since Funk Volume for that matter), but since DAY ONE in fact. He took his ability to shock that was on full display in My Grandma’s Basement, adopted it once more here and added the generously helpful element of societal consciousness, making for a truly outstanding gift.
5 out of 5 stars