Benzino: The Interview

Dave Mays and Ray Benzino of The Source Magazine have been relatively quiet since being forcibly removed from control of the long-running Hip-Hop magazine by the publication’s board of directors. Benzino, the more vocal of the two, says his detractors are celebrating far too fast. The Boston-bred rapper/executive breaks his brief silence and says that the pair will unequivocally regain the reigns of “the Bible of Hip-Hop.” Without further intro, read the thoughts, plans and views of Ray Benzino.

AllHipHop.com: So, yeah a lot of people are just wondering what’s going on from your perspective. I mean we’ve seen reports and things like that, but what’s going on from your point of view?

Benzino: I’m just saying you got a situation where you got a whole bunch of people trying to basically give their, I mean it’s a situation where Black Enterprises is a [company of] Black uppity-ass n***as, okay? Who don’t know about Hip-Hop, you got a whole culture of these writers or these people just stay in the f**king house don’t even know what it is to be in f**king society as a f**king normal human being. Who basically just want to see me and Dave [Mays] fall. Like this Jeremy Miller, that’s like Dave’s “son,” just like Elliott Wilson [of XXL magazine] and Mimi [Valdes of VIBE magazine], they all came up through The Source magazine. At the end of the day, me and Dave are still 82% shareholders.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I heard about that.

Benzino: I mean you got to look at the people that are involved in it. You know Jeremy Miller – It’s like they don’t represent what a Hip-Hop is, you understand what I’m saying?

AllHipHop.com: Right.

Benzino: You got Jeff Scott and you know Butch Graves and Earl Graves. They don’t represent Hip-Hop. They don’t give a f**k about the Hood. They don’t care about n***as in the f**king street, about n***as being locked up. All these mother f**kers are doing is just selling out a whole f**king culture.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah. From a business perspective do you feel that they’re just protecting their interests, aside from the culture?

Benzino: [It] should be our interests. You know what I’m saying, should be our interests. This isn’t about their interests. When they came in with their money and that bulls**t contract that they had that Dave sign, that was about them to try to take over the magazine. You understand they invested in the magazine, the number one Hip-Hop bible on the newsstand. That basically brought every other f**king magazine out there.

AllHipHop.com: Right, no doubt. So I mean are you guys in the process of trying —

Benzino: Without The Source there is no XXL, there is no f**king AllHipHop.com, there is no Ozone, there’s none of that without The Source. You understand what I’m saying. The Source [has been] around since 1988 – documented. We been covering the politics of it, the music of it, everything about it. There’s nothing bigger than The Source. It’s an institution. These mother f**kers don’t know nothing about the culture. All they want to do is try to reap the f**king benefits.

AllHipHop.com: Right, right. How was it that they were able to do that considering that you guys are still 82% —

Benzino: They had a clause in their contract that said that if the company went in default they could add two board members. They add two board members, now they control the board. I’m a street n***a, you know what I’m saying. I don’t f**king know about no board s**t. I never went to one board meeting. I’m not a board n***a, I’m a street n***a and a sharp n***a. When Zino brought something, when we did the f**king Source Awards, we brought the ‘hood to TV. He wants to represent the ‘hood there’s, there’s no award show representing the ‘hood. It’s almost like people are embarrassed to be a part of the ‘hood, but want to benefit from the economics from the ‘hood. Enough of that, know what I’m saying, enough of that. That’s why Russell Simmons, Steve Stoute, Chris Lighty, all these coward a** n***as have to run around with f**king security. These n***as don’t rap, what the f**k is their excuse for running around with security?

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, no doubt. Well what about Jeremy is he —

Benzino: F**k Jeremy. You understand what I’m saying? Jeremy went down and started some magazine called Down magazine. His partner went out on him, the magazine was about to fold. Nobody knew about that. We started this empire. You can say what you want about us but our legacy is already f**king in [history], it’s already written. If me and Dave [die] tomorrow our f**king history is already written in the magazine. There’s a lot of f**king weirdo writers out there, journalists who wished they could say that.

AllHipHop.com: Speaking of journalists, what happened with [former Source Editor-in-Chief] Dasun Allah? Do you know what happened with that?

Benzino: I’m saying Dasun is one of the best writers we ever had up there who understands the cause, but Dasun is a real emotional cat. And sometimes his emotion is a passion, just like myself and it ends up guiding his path. So you know he’s gonna be alright whether he’s up at The Source or wherever he is, Dasun is gonna be alright.

AllHipHop.com: Cool.

Benzino: Those cheap mother f**kers [former Source employees]. They always been clowns from day one, man. They always been guys that never could be accepted so like this is like their revenge right here. Watching me and Dave in the newspaper getting ousted in The Source. [Click here to listen] But, guess what, I’m coming back, yo. I’m coming back and I might come back on a f**king horse.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, I hear you, so you think, you are in the process of getting The Source back or trying to get it back or —

Benzino: I’m coming back in on a f**king horse. Let me tell you something. I got lawyers so good that Jeff and Jeremy will be doing magazines in Alaska.

AllHipHop.com: So you mean you are going to try to get The Source back or in the process of doing that?

Benzino: I’m coming back in on a f**king horse.

AllHipHop.com: Ok, so how’s Dave doing, mentally wise, you know what I’m saying, is he straight?

Benzino: You mean the man that basically started a one page newsletter in 1988 to the biggest Hip-Hop media f**king conglomerate ever? I think he’s doing just fine, buddy.

AllHipHop.com: Oh, okay. You know, I’m sure that some things that went down probably that bothered him.

Benzino: Dave’s like this: We stood up for something. You understand what I’m saying. While this c**ksucker Jeremy’s going to try to suck Jimmy [Iovine] and Eminem, we stood up for something, you understand what I’m saying? We stood up for something. We stood up for the ‘hood. Interscope, they damn near control AllHipHop.com. They control XXL. Believe me, when I am back up in power at The Source, Eminem will never be in the pages of the Source again.

AllHipHop.com: What about the Ozone incident [Ozone named Benzino "Most Successful Extortionist" in their 2005 wrap-up issue]. Do you have any different feelings about that or —

Benzino: Oh man, don’t ask me about that f**king s**t monkey whore, man.

AllHipHop.com: Nah, I was just saying, I mean, would you have done it differently?

Benzino: What?

AllHipHop.com: I’m saying in hindsight, do you have any different thoughts about it or you know —

Benzino: Yeah, in hindsight I wish I would have seen her so I could spit in her f**king face, in hindsight.

Benzino: Any mother f**ker who wants to write something bad about me, I’m f**king coming to their doorstep.

AllHipHop.com: Alright. What about, you know I mean do you feel that everybody’s against you all, like why is that? Why is it that people are this way around The Source when everybody basically —

Benzino: It’s the journalists and fake people. Real people love me. See that’s where you n***as got tunnel vision. Like the street and people that get pushed away, they love me. When [Ozone] published my number, I’ve gotten love from Africa to Iraq to f**king Toronto to like all across the world, yo. Mother f**kers want a real n***a, not a n***a that sits up in an office and f**king puts another name on a story that I write. I’m not a n***a that isn’t scared to walk in any ‘hood in this f**king country.

AllHipHop.com: We heard that a lot of people did call you and did get good responses from you on the phone. People emailed us and told us that.

Benzino: Part of the problem is the industry, this big thing called Hip-Hop, the most greatest thing to ever happen to the f**king Black and Latino culture of America, part of the problem is that the youth have taken it and the people that are controlling it aren’t being responsible with it. It’s a simple fact.

AllHipHop.com: OK.

Benzino: Irresponsible stuff is happening. You know over radio and everything, man you know what I’m saying. And like at the end of the day people, people just ain’t real man. You know what I’m saying people just, I don’t know what it is man, but it’s like just a lot of people who are just miserable with themselves, you know what I’m saying. Like I can produce, you know what I’m saying. I can executive produce a major f**king TV show [The Source Awards] that got major ratings, the f**king sixth most watched show in the history of BET. I can direct videos. You know what I’m saying? I can do everything there is. I can run a magazine. I can do everything there is about Hip-Hop and I can stand up for something and f**king risk it all because of something where I believe in. So I don’t, you just don’t find too many mother f**kers like that cause I never been celebrity type n***a. I’ve always that in love Hip-Hop. I put my first record out in 1987, 88, you know.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, we know.

Benzino: I was on the cover holding a gun with a f**king Adidas sweatsuit with some Cazals on, cuz. I had a hit record with “Rock The Party. I been on Motown Records, I been across the country performing, cuz. I done f**ked some of the baddest b**ches in the industry, cuz.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, no doubt. I heard rumors about you and Trina.

Benzino: Let me tell you something. That’s like Trina’s cool, I got nothing bad to say about Trina, but that’s just one of them. So it, cuz, it’s nothing. And Trina can still f**k with anybody and give n***as time and converse with anybody. I don’t put myself over people.

AllHipHop.com: A lot of people, including myself are very concerned with the way that Hip-Hop is going and the lack of control. How do you feel that can be resolved, like how can we regain the reins of Hip-Hop and —

Benzino: We gotta first get this monopoly strangle-hold off of Hip-Hop and recognize who are the perpetrators of that. We got to recognize that this isn’t just a product, this is a culture of people. And it’s f**ked it all up, a f**ked up a culture of people. This just isn’t music where it’s music, this controls our every day living. And it’s f**ked up the lives of a lot of mother f**king kids. I think the internet is being very irresponsible the way people can just post messages up and say anything and somebody spew any kind of hate.

It’s a whole bunch of s**t. Radio personalities become more bigger than the artists they’re playing, like it’s all out of control. You know like there’s a lot of people responsible for it.

AllHipHop.com: If by chance, you and Dave are not able to gain control of The Source what will you do?

Benzino: [Click here to listen] Son, you’re not listening to me. You’re not listening to me, man. I’m coming back on a f**king horse, man. There is no “what if..” or “If me and Dave ain’t..” Hey, if you want the exclusive I’m telling you what the f**k it is man. I’m coming back up there and heads are rolling. You know what I’m saying, Jeremy or anybody else they got up there. I’m telling you what it is. There’s no “if me and Dave don’t.” When me and Dave are back in power, I’m coming back on a f**king horse.

AllHipHop.com: I hear you, I hear you. Okay, how soon you think that’s gonna go down? You know that –

Benzino: You know I don’t want to say that cause I don’t bite myself in the ass there. And like one thing’s for sure, also like I stepped my game 100%, set up like on my music, too you understand? And like my new album when I drop it, know what I’m saying is gonna f**k a lot of n***as up. Like a lot of n***as think that they’re so lyrical or think that they make great songs. I’m about to f**k up a lot of n***as up, man. F**k how old I am, f**k everything else, like I said the other day, there’s a whole bunch of n***as in the game that are in the 35 to 40 year old realm that are running Hip-Hop. That’s the age. It is what it is. Guess what? I can still f**king f**k with a 21-year-old real n***a and f**king be shoulder to shoulder with him. That’s what the difference is.

AllHipHop.com: What else about your album? Is it coming out soon or —

Benzino: I would think we’re probably gonna drop it in March. It ain’t on no s**t about [dissing] that f**king dickhead or none of that s**t. It’s about me stepping my lyrical game up, great music and it’s for a crowd that is a little bit older, you understand what I’m saying? It’s also good enough for the young n***as to understand. It’s a more calmed down lyrical version, man. I got my little situation going like with the federal case up in Boston-fighting that, you know? So don’t believe into the hype, you know. Zino’s alright. Zino’s doing all right, Zino’s doing good, you can’t believe the hype about anything with the newspapers and everything. Like every thing’s good with me. I’m still f**kin’ with my Untouchable n***as, my Southside Bomber n***as. I’m still not bowing down to nobody.

AllHipHop.com: Right.

Benzino: And Funk Master Flex. I remember one day when I went up there and Ashton [Flex] pulled me to the side and talked about how he didn’t think he was gonna be up there too much longer and how The Source would really have to support him and his car thing and everything It’s cool. and you know so what happened with Ashton was there was a story coming out that wasn’t written by me. There was a story coming out, he thought that it was in The Source, I had put the story on hold when it came across me because of our relationship. He got a little scared and felt that because you know we had moles all through the f**king office, calling and saying s**t. He got scared and said some s**t on the radio and that’s why I said, f**k it. He wants to try and go against me and my company, as Angie [Martinez] does. Okay well f**k it and let’s just put it out there. The difference with Funk Master Flex and our s**t is all our s**t is true about him. Everything he says about I’m wack, my music, that right there is based on somebody’s opinion. Funk Master Flex is responsible for making New York a special city that birthed Hip-Hop to just another city that is just playing everything from Down South or Mid-West now.

AllHipHop.com: Right.

Benzino: So he can say what he wants behind those heavily guarded walls. There’s a lot of banana peels out there, homey. Lot of banana peels, yo. I hope Ashton doesn’t slip on one. And, if he’s so hot, why did his album come out and only do 11,000 in the first week? And the car shows are starting to get wack. What does he have now?

AllHipHop.com: Well, he has the radio…

Benzino: Well, he’s playing all the songs off his album on the radio and still couldn’t sell no albums. London Bridges is falling down.

AllHipHop.com: Hip-Hop is in such a chaotic state, I just want to know what’s really good with Hip-Hop, because…

Benzino: It got monopolized by a few people. Why don’t people understand that? That’s the reason Hip-Hop is the way it is. Stop asking that dumb a** question.

AllHipHop.com: Right. Anything else that you wanted to speak on like —

Benzino: After, after I get back in power I want to be known as Benzino the f**king Great.

AllHipHop.com: Yeah, yeah if you get The Source back, you probably will.

Benzino: Let people know the name is Zino the Great, all right?

AllHipHop.com: One more thing. What’s the status on the BET lawsuit?

Benzino: Well BET had a two year contract okay. To show The Source was it, The Source was the sixth most watched show in the history of BET. There was a contract laid out okay. It became personal, they didn’t want the ‘hood. They didn’t want to be a part of the Hood, you know. As great as the BET Awards are and I have a great deal of respect for Bob Johnson and who’s the lady up there, Debra Lee? I have a great deal of respect for them but at the end of the day, when they turn their back on the ‘hood, The Source is the ‘hood. So they were suppose to honor that contract and they didn’t and we have legal rights to go at them, okay? And that’s all we’re doing, is exercising our legal rights and anybody else would do the same thing. They had a two-year contract and then they pulled out.

AllHipHop.com: Right, right. What about the Kim Osorio sexual lawsuit stuff? Is that still pending or is that, I thought I heard —

Benzino: We will be vindicated. They brought in these independent people [investigators], to come interview and found a "no finding." These are people that come in from New York and if that’s the case, sexual harassment that they came in and had a “no finding,” I don’t know the name of these people but you know what I’m saying, at the end of the day, it was what it was. Her closet isn’t so clean.

AllHipHop.com: Okay, okay. Well, that’s about it. Anything else or is that about it?

Benzino: Benzino the Great. I’m coming in a f**king horse. Oh and please put that thing about my lawyers are so great, that Jeff and f**king Jeremy will be doing Honey magazine in Alaska, okay. They’ll be printing magazines in Alaska. So, tell them to dress warm.

AllHipHop.com: By the way, where are you? Are you in New York?

Benzino: I’m in every ‘hood on this globe. That’s where I’m at.

Benzino: All right, my n***a.

AllHipHop.com: Thanks. I’m going to wait and see.

Benzino: Wait and see, like when it’s all said and done, you’ll be reading the stories to your grandkids about me. The will come to you and say, "Daddy who is this great man, Zino the Great? Who was this great man, granddad? And didn’t give in to the corporate c**k sucking. Who was this great man and that never walked with security a whole f**king day in his life?"

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