There’s a reason why Jarren Benton was named by Complex Magazine, as one of “10 Atlanta Rappers to Watch Out For” late last fall…
…he earned it.
Next up on indie label Funk Volume’s blossoming roster, give him a stage and he’s made sure that he’s owned it; from performances at the BMI Showcase, Southeastern Music Festival and at A3C, to opening for a string of artists including the legendary KRS-One and Lil Wayne, to a collaboration with Erick Sermon. In short, he’s been putting in work.
Now it’s time to let his first label offering; the highly anticipated My Grandma’s Basement, speak for itself.
AllHipHop.com: Now this isn’t your first project, but it is your first with your label; how did you join the Funk Volume team?
Jarren: I put out a video called “Schizo,” and Hopsin saw it and liked it. They took a liking to the track and reached out to me (laughs) but I didn’t see it until two months later, I’m terrible at checking my email. Later on I saw DJ Hoppa perform during SXSW (an annual music festival held in Austin, TX) and it seemed like he was really bringing back the element of Hip Hop I feel the game has been missing. He was a cool ass fucking dude, and the live show was full of energy. Once I saw that, it planted the seed.
AllHipHop.com: Check those emails! You went on to join SwizZz, DJ Hoppa, Dizzy Wright, and Hopsin over at Funk Volume as the sole southern emcee in the crew; what do you think sets you apart from other Atlanta artists?
Jarren: I still put elements of ATL in my music, but my lyrical content is different. No disrespect to anybody, and I mean anybody…but I do this. A lot of people can’t see me lyrically. I study this. I can go bar for bar with any rapper in ATL, (laughs before adding) don’t count Andre.
AllHipHop.com: People seem to expect a specific sound from certain regions; how have you escaped being pigeon holed strictly into the Trap music category that Atlanta itself made so popular?
Jarren: I listen to everything from Wu-Tang, Three 6 Mafia to UGK. I mix every element of Hip-Hop from all of these influences. If you like raw Hip-Hop, I got that. If you like to turn up, I got that too. Either way I’m giving quality ass bars. This is definitely the most diverse album that I’ve done to date.
AllHipHop.com: Speaking of which, the artwork for your latest My Grandma’s Basement has caused as much interest as the project itself. Clear this up for us, is that your actual grandmother on the album cover?
Jarren: My grandma is a ‘G. Like really, she’s cool as hell. Those aren’t props; that’s her liquor, her own turn up juices.
AllHipHop.com: You’ve already been featured by a number of publications including, Complex Magazine and XXL, and have been listed as an artist to look out for. What kind of response are you hoping for with your label debut?
Jarren: I just hope that it’s a stepping stone to something else, something bigger. I just want people to tune in and fuck with me. It’s a blessing to even be noticed. I just want to let everyone know that I appreciate it. I remember when only 2-4 people would give me the time of day. I appreciate the blogs as well. For a new artist, every little bit helps.
AllHipHop.com: You actually started out in production before taking the solo route. Is that something that you would consider getting back into one day?
Jarren: I started out producing and used to do it for myself as well, I only stopped because it took too much to try to get the specific sound that I wanted for myself, so I started working with other producers when it came to do my own projects. But I’ll probably get back into it eventually and branch out into different genres. I listen to everything from Neon Indian to Radiohead.
Join the movement:
Check Out his latest: My Grandma’s Basement