Benjamin Brown is a Māori Brisbane-based artist who was raised in the golden era of hip hop along the east coast of Australia. “A self-taught producer and the long lost member of Outkast,” he tells Eat This Music. “Constantly reinventing myself through my music in similar fashion to Miles Davis.” In fact, Benjamin can wager that he is the most proactive artist in Australia at the moment, as he punches out songs to establish a catalogue of work he can be proud of. “A shapeshifting rapper who has many styles,” Benjamin likes to describe himself as, “[that] isn’t afraid to stretch the envelope to push the culture forward.” Benjamin realises he has gone from third to first person during this answer, “that’s progression not digression!”
“I’m blessed and doing well – all things considered,” Benjamin expresses to Eat This Music on how he is doing at the moment. “Levels of uncertainty have increased dramatically for everyone, I approach this situation with a sense of dynamics and hopefully adjust to the environment in the most productive way.”
Benjamin assures Eat This Music that he does feel like we are reaching a tipping point in society, with an economic crisis looming and political identities flaring up more than ever. “It’s all up in the air at the moment,” he continues in our Q&A about the release of his newest single, ‘Datz Money‘, “so I am hoping to sway the winds in a way so the bread lands butter side up.”
Benjamin expresses to Eat This Music that he feels great to finally have the single out. “The four week wait for the song to reach the fans seems like a lifetime after only making the song (start to mastered final) in two days!” Benjamin hopes that his current fans enjoy this more light-hearted and uptempo track, but he also hopes to introduce himself to many new potential longtime listeners in the process.
Like most artists, Benjamin is a big fan of music, so being able to put his energy out there that hits people in a certain way is always inspiring for him: “The song isn’t actually about money [laughs],” Benjamin reveals about his newest single. After the news of TikTok possibly being banned, or being bought out by Microsoft, this song was made with the idea that it would be Benjamin’s ‘last hoorah!’ on Tik Tok.
“The last Tik Tok song before it gets canned. The chorus of the song serves as a canvas for fans to put on their best move and then “*cha ching* strike a pose… yeah DATZ MONEY!” — Benjamin Brown on the release of ‘DATZ MONEY’
“Very industrial,” Benjamin reveals about the creative process of the single. Benjamin didn’t really have a plan in mind when he approached this song, “I was feeling good that day and had energy to burn,” he explains, “I started with uptempo four to the floor beat… and expanded on that.” It is highly unusual for a hip hop track to go four to the floor, so Benjamin thought he would try it out.
“It turned out to be a makeshift track,” he explains, “as I pulled at many samples to create the sonic texture of the song.” Think about it like this, Tom Hanks in Castaway… but Tom Hanks is Benjamin Brown and the desert island is FL Studio. “I went through folders that were within reach and played around until it felt like there was enough there,” Benjamin continues.
The idea of creating something new excites Benjamin – as he details: “It’s the best damn part of art. The boring part is the last 5-10% organisation, logistics and administration.” So naturally, Benjamin is always creating. Benjamin is influenced by the world, so he is the type of artist that tries to add his own flavour on sounds or songs that inspire him and then push that out into the world to influence it back.
“I can distinctly remember the song RNP by YBN Cordae and Anderson .Paak directly influenced this song,” he reveals. Although, the single doesn’t sound like that song at all, mostly just the parts where the uptempo beat and the way the raps almost float above the beat fuelled the initial inspired song.
Benjamin Brown’s ‘Datz Money’ was inspired by the somewhat viral track that was shared heavily on the internet of YBN Cordae and Anderson .Paak rapping effortlessly over an uptempo jiggy beat. “It morphed into a sort of Tik Tok-esque novelty track,” Benjamin explains, “but I still credit it as one of my more serious tracks.” Benjamin hopes it evokes people to want to dance, and since we can’t dance out in bars at the moment… you could Tik Tok yourself in your own home to his song instead. “I decided to release it as soon as I finished it, because I’m 100% independent and I do what I want!” he adds.
“I am shooting a music video for my next single ‘Solo’ during the upcoming weekend,” Benmjamin explains on what he has coming up out of his camp. As soon as that video is done Benjamin will set a release date for that song. “It’s another shift in sound,” he explains, “the song is sort of a homage to UK Grime and the late Pop Smoke.” Benjamin believes he will have another four or five singles released by the end of the year: “so if people are keen to follow the journey of a larger than life rapper then I say hit me up and turn it up!”