Smooth and effortless flow
Ones To Watch - Benny Banks

Hip-hop and modesty are two words rarely associated with one another. Rap has built a reputation around showing off and in recent years many young artists have used the bragging method to prove themselves whilst ascending the musical ladder.

Benny is different. His music’s honest and sincere, reflecting his personality. Sitting quietly in a zipped up tracksuit, he’s just returned from Copenhagen – he played the Distortion festival; and prior to that, from supporting his American counterpart Mac Miller in the UK. Mac’s a fan – Banks officially remixed ‘Loud’ from his new ‘Macadelic’ mix-tape.

Having eschewed big American production sounds currently ruling the mainstream, he explains: “We’ve [London] got our own sound to represent.” Although a new kid on the block, Banks has already worked with an impressive plethora of artists and easily holds his own amongst them. He dominates rapper Chipmunk in their remix of Maverick Saber’s ‘I Need’.

Despite the hype surrounding his career, Banks has no trouble recalling the seeds of his vocation, sown whilst “chilling in a hostel”. This unusual setting was the start of a creative process that happened when he was “bored”.

Since those days three years have past and Benny’s ability to freestyle has brought him serious attention; he’s dropped bars for institutions like Fire In The Booth on 1Xtra and SB:TV’s F64. His smooth and effortless flow is quickly becoming his trademark. His words pour out like a stream of consciousness.

Newest single ‘Bada Bing’ is Benny at his best, a prime example of his ability to bridge the gap between grime and hip-hop. His back catalogue predominantly revolving around struggles with poverty, it’s obvious his lyrical content is going to have to evolve with his circumstance. He agrees: “The struggle is different, it’s still a struggle, but now I’m struggling not to spend money.”

Words by Hayley Louisa Brown
Photo by Samuel John Butt

Where: Hornsey, North London.
What: Reality Rap.
Get 3 Songs: Benny told us to play ‘Bada Bing’ three times on repeat.
Unique Fact: Benny is half blind in his left eye.

Download Benny Banks' 'Goin' In' as part of Clash's Cross Section Download album.

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