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Benefit Biography

Last updated: 09/10/2014 07:35:15 PM

Benefit was born up North but has moved over 22 times in his 22 years living. For the latter majority of his life he's lived in Florida, where he currently attends a University. Throughout his unstable childhood he found himself always inspired by music. In 1986 for Christmas he received a boom box, and the two tapes Run DMC - Raising Hell, and The Fat Boys - The Fat Boys Are Back. That point in his life would begin a never ending fascination with Hip Hop.

As Benefit grew, so did his appreciation for creativity and culture. Moving to different cities, and attending a number of extremely different schools planted a deep seeded understanding of diversity in his young mind.

While he matured, life threw many harsh realities in his path. Forever curious, he learned quickly from the abandonment, loss, and death that followed him. These experiences would teach him lessons more important than anything he could learn in school.

It wasn't until he was about 14 that he began to write down his ideas and life experiences as lyrics and orchestrate his self expression in the culture he valued so highly. Hip Hop consumed him, and soon he wasn't content with only taking part in the verbal aspects of it. The technological revolution of the early nineties had made it feasible for an individual to use a personal computer to create electronic music. Benefit realized this very early and began to teach himself how to make beats using a linear wave editor on a PC.

Once he had a decent amount of production work done, he began entering biweekly battles at "The Landz" where he would go on to be the consistent undefeated champion of every contest. It was suddenly clear that people were really feeling what he was creating. His style and sense of reality gave people what was lacking in the poppy fantasized rap they saw on TV. As Benefit finished high school and began college, he started writing, producing, and recording songs in his spare time. All of this was done using a $5 mic, and a $12 soundcard. This collection of work would unexpectedly catapult his name and ideas into the culture he loved, almost over night.

When he had unintentionally finished enough songs to fill up a CD, he decided to give the collection to a couple of people and see what their response would be. The reaction he got was far more enthusiastic than he had ever imagined. The people he had shown his music to, showed their friends, and their friends showed their friends, and suddenly the music which was never intended to be an album, rapidly spread by word of mouth, across the nation.

Since the response was so powerful, Benefit decided to set up a small web site with information about the collection of work, which had now become a self titled album, and an opportunity for people to purchase it. He began receiving letters from all over the United States, and surprisingly all over the world as well. Unexpectedly letters were coming in from all over Canada, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. The same technological revolution that had produced the PC Benefit created his Hip Hop on, had also produced the Internet, which spread his creative vision across the globe.

With absolutely no promotion at all, Benefit's self titled release grew to become a world wide phenomena in independent hip hop. People who were captivated by the foolishness of the commercial rap industry heard Benefit's work and began to value true hip hop. Young emcees found a new inspiration and realized their voices could be heard around the world as well. People who didn't even listen to hip hop were captured by the collection of music and began to look at hip hop in a new more respected light. All of this was achieved by utilizing only $17 worth of equipment, and creating hip hop music from the depths of a reality riddled soul. Torn between the desire of his family for him to finish college, and his passion for music, Benefit continued balancing both, and in doing so neglected any effort to promote his album. Still his following continued to grow.

By the summer of 2000 the Internet revolution had made it possible for people to get an artist's album free in mp3 format, and the music industry was furious. The same major labels who were getting rich off of poor quality music and ignorant rap artists, were now losing profits due to trading of mp3's through software like Napster. Chuck D of the legendary hip hop group Public Enemy took it upon himself to use his voice to protect our right to trade digital information online. In conjunction with his web site, Napster and Chuck D sponsored a contest where an emcee would make a track expressing their support for Napster and free information trade. The power was given to the people, and they were able to vote for the winner, who would then receive $5000. More than 800 emcees entered the contest, including Benefit. When Chuck D heard Benefit's entry he immediately told his manager he knew Benefit's was by far the best. When the contest ended and the votes were all counted, it wasn't even close. Benefit had won the $5000 by thousands of votes.

He used his prize money to begin building his professional studio, and further his music, but the promotion the contest gave him was much more valuable than the $5000. Millions of people used Napster, and now Benefit's name was displayed on the software for every user to see, and hear music from. A year after his debut release had exploded in the underground hip hop scene, it was elevated to a new level with the help of Chuck D and Napster. Still Benefit focused on college, and put no effort in promoting his work, and still his music promoted itself.

Now with a soon to be classic release in the works, Benefit is building his label, delivering dope production work to hungry artists, and preparing an unparralleled album in an effort to bring Hip Hop out of its slump and into its rightfully deserved position. Look for the new release at the end of the summer.

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