Benny The Butcher — Pyrex Picasso — EP Review

Hip-Hop | Rap

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not completely oblivious to the success of Buffalo rap artist Benny The Butcher. But in my mind, I have always perceived him as somebody who has, what I like to call, “Ty Dolla $yndrome”. And what I mean by that, is that I’ve known him more for his feature appearances than his original material. Time to change that.

Benny The Butcher was way more invested in creating mixtapes than with studio albums. In fact, the first studio album under the artist's name only arrived in 2018; a whole 14 years after his debut mixtape (under the previous name of B.E.N.N.Y), titled Tana Talk.

Benny’s knack for mixtapes was so strong in fact, that people have even considered Pyrex Picasso to be a mixtape. And while the majority of sources point to it being an EP, I can understand why people thought of it as otherwise.

In typical Spotify fashion, Pyrex Picasso is actually labelled as an album. But this is likely only due to some kind of duration threshold they have. With that said, however, this is one generous EP!

Clocking in at almost 20 minutes, with a total of 7 tracks, Pyrex Picasso was perhaps one or two tracks away from being a short album. But more importantly than that, it serves as a golden chance for me to explore Benny The Butcher as more than just a feature.

The initial interest I had in this brand new EP, of course, came from the Benny features I listened to, including those found on Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist’s Alfredo, and Conway the Machine’s From King To A GOD. As Benny addresses in this EP, his relationship with Conway goes pretty far back, so the feature’s no surprise. Conway returns the favour with not one, but two guest appearances on Pyrex Picasso, along with artists such as Elcamino and Rick Hyde; both of which have two featured appearances each as well.

In terms of focus, the subject matter of Pyrex Picasso is very much what I have come to expect from the catalogue of rap veterans. The story of rags to riches is very much a commonplace topic, but it somehow felt more immersive than usual, thanks to Conway’s open delivery and knack for creating some kind of story for each song, which I felt was pretty damn neat. Furthermore, I felt it was pretty impressive to be so immersive by EP standards.

Musically, Pyrex Picasso is pretty solid as well. While it doesn’t do much to make itself truly unique, the vast majority of tracks were still hits in my mind. Additionally, they succeeded in bringing a kind of retro feel. Indeed, this feels like an album that could’ve been released in the 2000’s; a double edge sword of sorts, that feeds the hunger for nostalgia, but leaves a slight hunger for pushing things forward.

Nevertheless, it is a minor nitpick, if anything. It needs to be said that Pyrex Picasso was not only an enjoyable experience, but a highly generous one of that by EP standards too.

Favourite Tracks: Flood The Block | Pyrex Picasso | Fly With Me

Least Favourite Tracks: ‘73

Rare Scrilla | BSF

Enjoyment: ★★★★ | Memorability: ★★★★ | Atmosphere: ★★★★

Uniqueness: ★★★ | Satisfaction: ★★★★ | Narrative: ★★★★★

Final Score: ★★★★

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My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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Joe Boothby

Joe Boothby

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

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