Benzino Speaks On Recent Arrest, "CAEZAR" Mixtape Featuring Waka Flocka Flame

Exclusive: The Made Men leader tells DX about working with J. Prince, his reaction to Mobb Deep's resurgence and the success of "Hip-Hop Weekly."

Benzino always lands on his feet. No matter what the situation is with the rapper/entrepreneur, he manages to persevere. Since his 2005 departure from The Source magazine (he was co-owner beside David Mays), Benzino has been busying himself with other ventures. He started Hip-Hop Weekly, reuniting with Mays the following year in 2006, and is preparing to drop his first batch of music since The Antidote in 2007. The Boston native is working on a mixtape, CAEZAR, due for release in less than a month. He says that he’s also created an entirely new sound for Hip Hop on his upcoming LP, VEGAS MUSIC, complete with live band instrumentation and vocalists.

Still, even with his hectic work schedule, trouble seems to find Benzino. On July 8th, he was arrested in Miami Beach and charged with driving erratically. The police are also saying that there was a firearm in the vehicle that shoots rifle rounds. It’s just another hurdle for Benzino to cross but he’s definitely not the type to get easily discouraged. DX had the opportunity to talk to the made man about the CEAZAR project, his goals, and why he’d be open to collaborating with Havoc despite bad meeting evil.

HipHopDX: What happened with you down there in Miami last week?

Benzino: I mean, the case is still open so I can’t say too much but I’m definitely getting exonerated. Charges will be dismissed and I’ll be exonerated.

DX: Can you speak on what you’ve been doing business-wise?

Benzino: Right now, we’re still doing Hip-Hop Weekly, me and my partner David Mays.

DX: Hip Hop Weekly’s been present for a while now, and pretty consistent…

Benzino: After the situation with me and Dave [founding and subsequently leaving] The Source, we just thought it was only right that we put out another magazine. The whole format of Hip-Hop Weekly, coming out every two weeks was just something we couldn’t resist, the name was available and the rest is history. We’re in our sixth year, we won a couple of awards, we’re doing pretty good.

DX: Musically?

Benzino: I’ve been working on an album, and a mixtape called, CAEZAR – that one should be coming out in about a month or two. We’re still mixing a few songs down here in Miami. I’m working with my son and daughter on a few projects.

DX: I know your son started rapping years ago, but I hadn’t heard about your daughter…

Benzino: Yeah, Coli’s 14, she’s doing more stuff; you can check some videos out on my YouTube channel. All my kids grew up in the studio, so it was only natural with her watching [her brother] Ray Ray that she’d pick up a pen. She writes all her own stuff too, most everything.

DX: So are you sticking with the home team, Hangmen 3 for production on CAEZAR?

Benzino: Yup. Hangmen 3 production. Stevie J, Mario Winans, Midas Gold Rush, and a couple local artists out of Miami. I’ve worked with Arizona Slim. I have a studio down here so the guys, as far as the producers, whoever’s in-house or around the studio, is pretty much who I use. I like working with anybody, you know? I just love doing music.

DX: Have you been out doing shows pretty consistently?

Benzino: I just did a show the other night and once I drop the album I’ll probably start promoting it, doing some more shows.

DX: Any features on CAEZAR that you can speak on?

Benzino: I’ve got Waka Flocka [Flame] on it, Ray J, Lloyd, my guys from Boston… I got a few people, but I wanted to pretty much get it in myself on this one.

DX: It’s been quite some time since you dropped something new, are you nervous or apprehensive at all about how it’ll be received?

Benzino: Nah, not at all. I’ve been working on this for the last couple of years, so it’s gonna be my first mixtape out in a while… Actually, I probably should’ve been put it out but you know, you’re always writing new songs, you’re always mixing, so I’m probably about two songs away, after I mix them, it’ll be done.

DX: What’s the criterion when choosing who to work with?

Benzino: It just has to be a vibe, the type of song or the timing. Someone may be in Miami at the time or I may be where they are, so it really is timing. I don’t like to send stuff out and have to wait and wait for the collabo to get on it, so it’s pretty much who’s around at the time.

DX: What’s the vibe of CAEZAR turning out to be?

Benzino: The whole vibe of this music is progression and stepping up as far as music and lyrics go. I’ve been working on this for a while, so it’s all about stepping up my lyrics, beats, everything… Everything’s about progress and I feel like this is the best music I’ve done in a long time.

DX: Have you heard about the legal issues between Rap-A-Lot and Pimp C’s wife [Chinara Butler]? I know, back in the day, your group, Almighty RSO [Roxbury Street Organization] had that joint venture with Rap-A-Lot, what was your experience like with the label?

Benzino: J Prince is like a brother, so when we were on Rap-A-Lot [Records], it was nothing but love, you know what I’m saying? And he’s like one of the pioneers in distribution as far as Hip Hop goes. So you know, times change and I can’t speak for nobody else but it was all love with J Prince.

DX: Around that same time, you let it be known in interviews that you were a pretty big fan of that gritty New York style of Rap: Nas, Mobb Deep… Have you spoken to Havoc or Prodigy since he came home?

Benzino: Nope. I haven’t talked to them in a while but I pretty much listen to everything now anyway: south, west coast. I’ve lived in L.A., I’m living in Miami so I’ve pretty much soaked in, wherever I’ve been production wise. Myself, Jeff and JB, we make up the Hangmen 3, so it’s a lot easier for me pick and make beats. This album’s pretty tight off of that right there.

DX: You weren’t only a fan of Mobb Deep, but you’ve worked with Havoc on a couple tracks before, about 20 years ago. If the situation allowed it, would you be willing to put some work in with Havoc behind the boards?

Benzino: Of course! Yeah, yeah. If I was in New York and Hav was around or whatever, oh of course, definitely… [Havoc] is one the premier Hip Hop producers and he has been for a long time.

23 Comments

  • IMO

    Not saying that this guy doesn't deserve to be known, but for the record, the only reason any of us know who the fuck Benzino is, is simply because Em blew up his spot. Say what you want, I'm not taking sides, just stating the facts. And the fact is, this dude would be a nobody if Em didn't tear him up.

    • dockevoc

      Eminem used to read HIS magazine...he's not a rap superstar and never was, but he was associated with some talented cats outta Boston at one point (E-Devious and Tony Rome being the best imo)...he is who he is: nobody, somebody, whatever...he wasn't going any further with or without an ass whipping from em

  • Anonymous

    All you fags dissin Benzino and big uppin Em are some strait up fags. Benzino is a G. He's made some dope music for Boston. He beat up wak ass Marky Mark (cornball) and exposed Eminems racist rhymes. Oh you forgot? Or just don't care bout eminems racist raps? The source was way better when him and Dave Mays were there.

  • @LostyMC

    Benzino sucks cock

  • Gerardo Guzman

    This foo is WACK!!!!

  • dockevoc

    Revenge of da Badd Boyz from RSO was fire in '94...this homo was known as Ray-Dog then...they had a song One in the Chamber about shooting it out with cops in Boston, shit was controversial, got them a deal with Rap a lot...obviously he was the least talented in the group and has embarrassed himself ever since...but RSO made Boston proud for a minute...til he gave their 2nd cd 4 1/2 mics in the source LOL it was a definite 3 1/2 though...fucking clown

  • twitter.com/The187Worm

    Fuck this clown...Crooked I started that HipHop Weekly shit and nobody can top his weeklys...

  • The realest on this shit

    Yall are jokes. Obviouslly never even heard benzino spit. Bet u didnt kno hes on a cypher from like 99 with em and ems got the best verse..besides benzino and krs one. bet u didnt kno the only reason jay z doesnt beef anymore is that when him and em recorded renegades em went to the studio strapped and with a bullet proof vest cus he was afraid of zino so bad he stayed wearing a vest and jay realized he didnt want that shit anymore huh? yall think hes a cop cus he had a police issued gun laaaaafffffffffff obviouslyy no real dudes here cus i know several people with police issued vests and one dude who owns this same gun..this is fucking florida theres nothing u cant get and im in fucking orlando i cant imagine what miamis got yall dumb as hell he dont need ur respect hes still making moves and more money then yall will ever see aint dick riding dude but how many yall gonna dick ride em for dissin a dude u never evn heard spit? clowns straight fucking clowns.

    • Steeley

      Love this way this always happens! If you don't like a guy why you looking at a story about him, watchin his videos n so on...far as im concerned eminems whinney voice goes right through me, hes a victim that did 5 albums about his mum and his daughter and his mum and his daughter (YAWN) even when hes not hes using big words tryin to make himself feel clever even tho theyre irrelevant to the song. All that said im not a fan, so therefore i dont go on his pages or check news on him. ?? Is Zino just the guy ppl love to hate or do faggy eminem fans do this with every1 whos ripped him??

    • kinghydro

      Yo benzino, quit commenting on your own interviews, we know that's you ,you sad pathetic,coward

    • Kingston

      Shut the fuck up, I diss Benzino he's a wack and he ruined the Source Magazine with his ego, I dont even fuck with Eminem like that but the one good thing that lil whiny fuck ever did was expose this piece of shit and the corruption behind the source, Em's biggest contribution to hip hop was destroying this nigga hypocritcal sneaky corrupt ass

  • DameB

    I heard he got robbed out in miami last month. He better hold that Gov't issued heater close LOL - Zno if u scared call the Feddddds!

  • Marcus Dislikesmartdumbpeople Eason

    Damn does ANYBODY respect this dude??? lol

  • SIKK

    Benzino sucks....Eminem roasted his ass

  • ...................

    BENZINO = WACK WACK WACK NOT TALENTED NEVER COULD RAP JUST A WASTE OF SPACE NOBODY DONT WANT TO LISTEN TO THIS CLOWNS SO CALLED MUSIC IM SURE IT WONT EVEN SELL TWO COPIES DO HIP HOP A FAVOR AND LEAVE IT ALONE GO DO AN ALBUM WITH OFFICER RICKY ANOTHER WACK PIECE OF GARBAGE

  • Mr Flamboyant

    Uh oh. BrickCity might be on to something. LOL!!! Seriously. I don't know though. I do know this dude is utterly wack and he made a disgrace of The Source. Just stay in Miami and chill. We don't need any rapping from you. Make a beat here and there with Hangman 3 cause y'all do good work on the boards. Oh. And I hope he's not Jimmy Henchmen pt 2.

  • BrickCity

    Benzino is a RAT - he was caught with a Law Enforcement Issued ONLY pistol on South Beach, a city with the toughest gun laws in the USA (they just shot a guy 100 times last month for MAYBE having a gun). This is Friday JULY 8TH.. Friday JULY 9TH Benzino was back or Tour with NORE. How did he get out so fast.. on a FLIGHT.. before COURT ? on the weekend. Police Issued FN Pistol [Five-Seven] http://www.policeone.com/police-products/firearms/articles/2833266-Firearms-Review-FNH-Five-Seven/ I smell a protected RAT with an FBI Handler What do you think?

  • Anonymous

    Benzino hooked up with Waka because thats the only MC he can outshine on a record

  • ANON

    This nigga sucks. The only reason I know who he is, is Beach eminem ripped him fuck. Fuck Benzino.

  • Kendall Walters

    the question really is WOULD HAVOK work with this clown? lulz

  • JOE6PACKNCGBOR336

    EM get props for going at dude pure fucking comedy

  • bu

    benzino is a feaking joke to hip hop music get this corn dog outta here lol

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