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An Interview With Ben Reilly

A new banger from Ben Reilly delivers an extremely well-executed crossover between old and new school rap styles complete with a beat that grabs your attention and a flow that comes through as intelligent but still with plenty of swagger to boot.

"Mind Going" is hypnotic and has the ability to wrap itself around you and keep it right where it wants to which is a refreshing but classic feel.

You get little hints of eeriness with the beat and that relates to the song and the lyrics itself as well, but this track is addictive because of the amount of character that it packs in.

Not only is this really well produced and done with that half-and-half lo-fi underground hip-hop feel mixed with this cool cinematic approach, but the vocals across the track are done in such a way that it feels almost like a freestyle but at the same time it also feels too good to be freestyle.

What I mean by that is, there's a lot of attention to detail throughout the course of this track and it's got a great chorus, but it also has that touch of looseness to it that makes it feel alive and breathing at the same time.

It's really hard not to get into this track as it brings that genuine approach and will certainly remind you of certain old-school artists or even underground artists if you were into that.

And I think that's probably why this is so special.

The track creates a very particular atmosphere that you can easily get engulfed in and once you do, you're really paying attention to what's going on in the song.

So, in a way, it's an invite to the mind of this artist and an escape from your own reality for a moment which is something you don't get a lot with hip-hop songs.

Everything about this is combining styles and it really works like a charm.

You have that clean tonality, but you also have a little bit of grittiness as well. You have elements that remind you of old-school stuff, but you also have fresh feels that hook you in.

This was a really fun single and it felt somewhat welcoming for hip-hop lovers and even just for people that love paying attention to good lyrics.

The lyrical phrasing across this track is part of that character I mentioned earlier, and that performance is nailed.

This is a collaboration with Dizzy Wright and feels like it was a natural one.

With the release of such a well-woven single, we wanted to have a sit down with Ben to find out where this song came from and what might be coming up next for the artist.

Here's what went down.

Buzz Slayers: Okay, let's start with "Mind Going"! This track had that classic feel to it, and it was packed with an energy that was undeniable! How did this single come about?

The song is basically about 2 different perspectives from 2 different lives in an inner city area. Dizzy as the extrovert who enjoys people's company, & wants the world to survive, & myself as the introvert who's just doing everything he can to see himself survive. One of my goals as a trap/drill artist, who actually enjoys 90s hip-hop as much as he does the modern stuff, is to bridge the gap between the new & old school. Lately, however, I'm losing interest in this.

I felt Dizzy was perfect to be featured on the song, cause in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, underground artists from labels like Funk Volume or Strange Music are technically mainstream here. You're more likely to run into someone who listens to Hopsin or Tech N9ne here, than you are to run into someone who listens to NBA Youngboy or Drake.

Buzz Slayers: How did this all start for you as an artist? When did you begin your musical journey?

When I was a child, the closest thing I had to a father was my uncle. He introduced me to 2 of my favorite things in this world, hip-hop & comic books. I started recording songs by sticking my head in between 2 of my mother's old tape recorders, one playing a beat, & one recording my vocals.

In 2010, after learning better audio production, I decided to go by the name "Ben Reilly" (named after the secret identity of the Marvel Comics superhero Scarlet Spider), cause of the many rappers who took their name from Marvel characters at the time, none of them were named after a Spider-Man character.

After researching, I found out "Peter Parker" was taken by an American DJ, "Eddie Brock" was taken by a rapper in Vancouver, & there's also already an American rapper who goes by Cletus Kasady/Carnage. At the time, I felt like I was the only one who knew who Scarlet Spider was, so I took "Ben Reilly" as my rap name. I released my first single in 2012… & it failed, hard. So I took a few years off to perfect my craft. Learned how to rap better, learned more about marketing.etc. I ended up joining a duo called "E.G.O.", which I ended up leaving since I was doing all of the work. That's when I came back in late 2018 with my song "Told U So" ft. Mike Posner, but my music didn't really start to gain leverage until I released my song "Keep It 100" ft. Tory Lanez way back in 2019.

Buzz Slayers: What kind of things really inspire songs for you?

My brother, King Cobra, is also a rapper. Sometimes, he will call me & tell me an idea he has for a song, then we start brainstorming together, coming up with ideas we think haven't been done, or topics people need to rap about more often. Sometimes, 2 brains are better than one!

Buzz Slayers: This single has some great styles on it! Can you give us some of your biggest influences musically?

My biggest musical influences are 2Pac, DMX, Pop Smoke, Tory Lanez, Young Thug, Tha Dogg Pound, Biohazard, Slayer, Helmet & Pantera. I feel inspiration from both rappers & heavy metal bands.

Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music?

Currently, I am actually working on my first action movie. (Voice acting & filmmaking are my 2 other passions). It's martial arts action, with a film noir vibe. Although it is set in my hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, it is meant for the American market (much like my music), & will be released through an American production company.

Once this film is finished, we are also dubbing a Korean anime film from the 80s that has never been released in english before. I've always wanted to be a voice actor for anime as well, so when I find a shortcut to my goals, I'll take them!

Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now?

Right now, I've been listening to a lot of Slayer. I have different music for different moods, & when I'm going through hard times, loud heavy metal music always helps me feel strong & power through everything.

Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now?

Currently I am not, for a few reasons. My audience is mostly American, although as a result of that, it's starting to grow up here in Canada as well. Even then, I'm not well liked in the rap scene of my hometown, or the rest of Canada, as i've made some controversial statements in the past, & word spreads quickly here. Currently, I cannot afford to travel to places where I have an audience.

Buzz Slayers: Did you record yourself or hit a big studio for this?

Every song I make is recorded, mixed & mastered by yours truly. If the song has a feature from a big name artist, their verses are usually recorded in a big studio in the USA, & are already on the beat for me, I just have to add the hook & my own verse.

Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future?

I actually have another single dropping tonight at midnight (as of recording this interview) called "What I Am". It is my first G-Funk track, & features legendary West Coast artist Kokane, as well as my brother King Cobra. I love to try something different with each track I make!

Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?

Thank you so much for listening to my music, it means the world to me, I love & appreciate everyone who bumps my music. & to everyone who never let anything I say stop you from enjoying my music or wanting to see me win, you're a real one!

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