Here we are. After his rise over the previous decade - and the decisive support of Jay-Z's Roc Nation – the fruit is ripe for Benny the Butcher, as for the Griselda crew more generally. He is put into orbit. He is coopted by the greatest, as demonstrated on his last album, Burden Of Proof, a release that looked a bit like a blockbuster, with the presence of hip-hop big names such as Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Big Sean, and Freddie Gibbs, and the production work of Hit-Boy.


The rapper's most significant work to date, however, is not necessarily that one. It is probably more its predecessor, a denser and more concise The Plugs I Met, Benny the Butcher placed under the egis of Alejandro Sosa and Tony Montana. And it had a second part, a bit earlier this year.

This other installment is as short as the first. However, it has enough space to welcome other notabilities of rap music: Black Thought, Jadakiss and Pusha T are replaced by Fat Joe, 2 Chainz, and also Jim Jones and French Montana, now reconciled. Also, the concept is the same. Once again, the cover features the two iconic drug lords from Scarface.

The idea, though, is refined and systematized.

The analogy with Scarface is even stronger, like with "When Tony Met Sosa", when Benny compares his own success with the pivotal moment of the movie. Also, he says he will persist with what he's been criticized for: representing the ghetto, instead of turning into a poet, or an artist; exploring one unique theme, drug trafficking, and adjacent ones such as guns ("Live By It"), survival ("Longevity"), and the violent death that waits round the corner ("Survivor's Remorse").

In addition, Benny learned a lesson from Hit-Boy's work on Burden Of Proof: it doesn't hurt when only one producer contributes to a record. Here, Harry Fraud is the guy. And through his choice of samples – inclusive of unusual ones, like Sai Yoshiko's on "Plug Talk" - he provides The Plugs I Met 2 with the appropriate cinematographic ambiance. His music looks like a soundtrack, like on "Overall", a song that features posthumously Chinx, who was murdered in 2015.

Apart from the "Thanksgiving" single, that was the first collaboration between the two men, and that ends the album with a prouder and spicier note, Harry Fraud delivers some great pieces of melancholy, like with the very nice "No Instructions", or "Longevity", with its guitar and ethereal voice. Such tracks suit perfectly well this kind of gangsta rap, that is more about bitterness and resignation, than glorification.

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