FROM JARREN BENTON'S PERSPECTIVE
On the song concept for “Razor Blades & Steak Knives”:
I always let the sound of the beat influence how or what subject matter I will spit over a track. That particular beat was screaming "kill me." I got a thing for random titles that may not have anything to do with the subject. I just thought the title "Razor Blades & Steak Knives" sounded dope.
On the inspiration behind Jarren’s weirder lines:
As a kid those are some of the MC's that I listened to and I latched on to that style. I love it when a MC says the most outrageous metaphors.So it was inevitable for me to get infected by that style.
On Eminem comparisons:
I dont take any offense to that, It's the truth I am influenced by EM.
On if “Razor Blades & Steak Knives” is an accurate indication of what to expect from his album “My Grandma’s Basement”:
No, it's not an accurate indication of what to expect. I think this is the most diverse album I ever done. I give you my serious side, I also give you that raw crazy shit as well as that southern turn up shit. I think this project covers multiple sounds of Hip-Hop.
On if he writes down his lyrics:
I actually do both, If it’s a conceptual song I take my time and write. If it's a song where I'm just dumbing out, I ride around in the car and let the thoughts flow or geek myself up with a shit load of caffeine and go off.
On his reaction when he first heard the beat:
I actually had that beat for years. When I first heard it I thought it was dope but I couldn't come up with anything to it.I was in a different state of mind when Kato first gave me the beat. It damn near took 3 years for me to come up with something to that track.
On if he recorded in studio with the producer Kato and featured artist Hemi:
I recorded that track at my other producer, Spittzwell's studio. I couldn't think of a hook that felt right for the track. Hemi is a friend of mine who's a crazy MC and song writer. I called him and asked for his help with the hook, I emailed the track to him and he sent it back in like 20 mins with the hook.
On his favourite line/verse from the track:
My favorite line from that song is, "Im awkward as quadriplegic kick boxers." Just try to picture that image, that's really fucking awkward.
FROM THE PRODUCER KATO'S PERSPECTIVE:
On if he’s worked with Jarren Benton before:
I work with Jarren the most by far out of all the artists I know. Working with him is funny, exhausting, time consuming and rewarding all at the same time.
On how he first connected with Jarren:
I've been working with Jarren pretty much since I moved to Atlanta from Virginia 7 years ago. Back then he had 3 fans (all in his family) and nobody really took the Asian kid seriously, so it was a good match from the start.
On how the beat for “Razor Blades & Steak Knives” came about:
This was one of those beats that I made with Jarren in mind, and when I sent it to him the first time, he couldn't come up with anything - same story with our song "Skitzo." I actually had a few other artists record on it before him, but we never put it out, so I held onto the beat for a few years, and played it for him again right before we started his album and "Razor Blades" was born.
On how he feels about samples:
I typically don't sample, just because I enjoy the process of creating melodies and sounds. I'm a control freak with my music so I like to have full creative control of every little sound. But if I find a dope sample with the right vibe, I will definitely cut it up.
On equipment he used to create the beat:
I started out on Fruity Loops, and graduated to Reason. I use that now and rewire into Cubase for all my beats.
On his go-to machines:
Only piece of hardware I use to make my beats is the M-Audio Axiom 25, and my Yamaha HS50M's. Most important machine I have though are my ears.
On if he has more work with Jarren on “My Grandmother’s Basement”:
I would say I did about 75% of the production of My Grandmas Basement, in addition to recording and mixing almost everything too. I'm excited for this album because of the diversity and quality of music. Not to mention the surprise features!
Giving you the direct perspective from Jarren Benton and his producer Kato, "Track Breakdown" is an HNHH series that highlights a specific cut by speaking to both the artist and producer about the song's creation.
Recently, we featured Funk Volume's Dizzy Wright, and his stand-out track "Maintain" on Track Breakdown, and today we return to the Funk Volume crew, but this time to get some more knowledge about Jarren Benton's single "Razor Blades & Steak Knives," produced by Kato.
The single is the first off Jarren's forthcoming debut on Funk Volume, My Grandma's Basement. The single stays true to Jarren's already-established crazy and energetic raps, while showing off his improved prowess on the mic with lyrical wordplay and bars straight out of left field, always with a slight comedic tone. The Atlanta native has been on his grind with two projects behind him, Huffing Glue With Hasselhoff and Freebasing With Kevin Bacon. My Grandma's Basement will be Jarren's most diverse project yet though, according to the rapper himself.
However, his debut single, "Razor Blades & Steak Knives," follows the general pattern of his two last projects, and it's not a bad thing. Production from frequent collaborator, Kato, may be a reason in part, but as well, the comedic and Eminem-influenced lines are something Jarren is known for. Nonetheless, do not be misled. In our interview with Jarren, he says that My Grandma's Basement covers multiple sounds of hip-hop-- Jarren may do what he does best, and surprise us all.
Back to the single at hand. We spoke to Jarren about the creation of "Razor Blades & Steak Knives," and interestingly enough, the beat provided by Kato is almost three years old-- yet Jarren still makes it fresh. He reveals how it took him three years to come up with a concept crazy enough to work on the beat, as well, Kato talks about the instrumental from his point of view, which is on the boards.
Find out more about Jarren & Kato's dynamic, and of course, "Razor Blades & Steak Knives," by clicking through the images in the gallery above. You'll be able to hear My Grandma's Basement in full on June 12th.
If you've yet to hear the banger, listen below.