Longtime collaborators Benny The Butcher and 38 Spesh have brought together their respective imprints for a brand new collaboration record titled, Trust the Sopranos. With Benny’s Black Soprano Family and Spesh’s T.C.F. Music Group finally coming together after an extensive history of appearing on each other’s solo material, can this collision between Buffalo hip hop supergroups be a memorable one?
With 31 minutes of run time, we get ten grit-filled collaborative tracks, but nothing presented is overwhelming excellent or memorable. “Immunity” kicks things off with Benny, Griselda member Elcamino and Soprano associate Loveboat Luciano running through their usual lyrical exercise over a standard boom-bap beat produced by Rick Hyde. Going through the rest of the LP, this formula pretty much remains throughout, with the only variable factor being who is featured on each cut. Tracks like “Spinelss” and “Long Story Short” are not bad, but their preliminary structure and plain out average performances makes the experience feel stuck at the surface level. From both camps, these topical ideas and sonic schemes have been explored countless amount of times, so to really blow listeners out of the water, there must be a peak lyrical performance, and there’s just not a lot of them here. From Benny to Rick Hyde, it’s clear they’re just throwing their filler material into this conjunction of mediocrity. Fortunately, all the MCs involved in this record are at such a high level that even at their worst, they can make something enjoyable enough for fans to enjoy.
Through this predictable run of the motions, one of the only moments that felt truly exciting was the smashing “Price of Fame,” which contained three standout verses from Klass Murda, Ransom, and Che Noir. Preluding this track, “Corner” was another one of the better moments here with its intoxicatingly smooth jazz sample and its melodically soothing yet topically potent performance from Elcamino. Adding some much-needed competitive fire, “Love Left” is a definite highlight due the duel between the Butcher and Che Noir. Being on the same stage with one of the hottest rappers in all of the underground, Benny brings his all to outdo her, and it ends up making one of the most lyrically daring, fiercely competitive moments in all of hip hop this year. Following this, “Blue Money” keeps up the same lyrical tenacity from Benny, as he recollects on everything from being locked up to having enough wealth to do virtually anything he wants to. Joining the 36-year-old, 38 Spesh challenges him with a wordplay, bravado-filled verse of his own. For as bland as this record can be, its flashes of greatness will keep you siked for the entire BSF and T.C.F. collective’s next major efforts.
Walking away from Trust the Sopranos, I’m sure any fan of Benny the Butcher, 38 Spesh, and either collective will enjoy hearing their favorite artists do what they’re renowned for, but from a critical standpoint, this project detrimentally suffers from a lack of new ideas. From the pens of these skilled MCs to the structure of the songs, there’s really nothing new here, and outside from a few standout verses, there’s hardly anything to remember. Is this album bad? No, but it really just feels like a small snack compared to everything else their artists do on a yearly basis.
- Another formidable effort from the crews
- Standout lyrical performances from Benny, Spesh, Che Noir, etc
- Some intriguing collaborations
- No new ideas/concepts
- Nothing new offered in sound or style
- Feels like throwaway material from all artists involved
Written By: Mr. Fantastic