Chris Thomas
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Certified Fresh: Jarren Benton – Independent In Thought & Practice

 
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Photo: Funk Volume

Hip-Hop Wired: Around what ages are you detailing on My Grandma’s Basement?

Jarren Benton: On that project, the age I was going through that sh*t was 23 until 27.

HHW: You elected to put your grandmother on the cover, so we’d like to know how much she inspires your music?

JB: My grandma’s like hella animated. man. If you meet her now, she’s a sweet lady; she’s chill now, but growing up with her, she was just hella animated, saying what she wanted to say, hella funny, just joking. She’s damn near like be in a sense, but a lot older and wiser, and a f*cking female.

When I did the cover, I was lost. My whole goal is I always want to make a dope cover. If it’s not a dope title or some title that’s out there, at least the cover has to catch your attention. I had the title and I was talking to my homeboy Mike – he was managing me at the time – and I was debating on something animated. He was like, ‘Nah, f*ck it. Why don’t you go to your grandma’s house and actually shoot a goddamn picture.’ Me, him, and my homebody Walter Ford – the dude that shot it – we just went to my grandma’s house. And I called her and said, ‘Yo, you’re going to be on my album cover. She was like f*ck it, let’s do it.

HHW: What inspired the lengthy tracklist?

JB: I know it’s a lot of songs on there. My managers at the time, they wanted me to just f*cking make it 11 songs, and I just had a lot of sh*t. And I was like, ‘I don’t even know when I’m putting everything else out.’

Most of the classic sh*t I f*ck with. N*ggas had like 18 [songs]. I was going back, I was listening. Em had like 18-20 songs. Dre had f*cking a lot of songs on there. Most of the sh*t I came up listening to had a lot of songs. Probably the next project won’t have as many songs.

Coming up with this CD, I knew for a fact that I just wanted to do something a little different, but I didn’t want to do anything too far different. I still wanted to add the same element that I had in the other projects. I still wanted to give the outlandish side of myself and I still wanted to give fans the hardcore lyricism, but I also felt like I was getting a lot of feedback and people were saying that they felt like I wasn’t giving them a lot of personal sh*t. That’s why I made that project. I just wanted to give them a balance of everything.

HHW: Since your rhymes are visually stimulating, would you say that film inspires your records?

JB: You know what, I love f*cking film. I think I pull from so much sh*t to be honest with you. I love comedy. I love action, drama… definitely film. I definitely will say that film is an inspiration.

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