The 23-year old artist has been quickly rising through hip-hop's ranks. We break down the family tree and unpack Coi Leray's beef with her father, Benzino.
Nothing in this world can become as convoluted as family. In spite of the fact that family should be among the simplest things in the world, the less admirable traits of human nature can get in the way and distort our perspectives. Money, greed, betrayal; all of these issues can disfigure any friendship, just as much as a strong parental or sibling bond-- the familial connection is not always enough. When you add the combustible and often treacherous element of hip-hop into the mix, it’s a miracle that any relationship in the industry can handle the strain.
In recent weeks, it’s been a volatile father-daughter dynamic that has threatened to implode before our very eyes. Played out via vengeful social media posts, former The Source co-owner and rapper-turned-reality star Benzino, and his daughter, Coi Leray, have opened up old wounds and created some new ones. In case it all happened at such a frenetic pace that you may be confused by where the animosity erupted from in the first place, we thought it’d make sense to chronicle it blow-by-blow and establish where they go from here.
Who is Coi Leray's Dad and Mom?
To put it delicately, Benzino, otherwise known as Raymond Leon Scott, has been experiencing the wilderness years of his career. After honing his skills in crews such as The Almighty RSO and Made Men, Benzino had a string of relatively successful records under his belt in the early-to-mid 2000s. Afterwards, he’d continue to ply his trade as an underground MC and become a staple on Love & Hip-Hop Atlanta. But, if you were to say the name "Benzino" to your casual fan presently, they’d likely know him best as a magnet for beef and one of Eminem’s many, many lyrical victims.
Signed to Republic Records, his daughter Coi LeRay’s career had been a slow burn, and save for being labelled as Trippie Redd’s girlfriend early-on in her career, she made only incremental progress until 2020’s Now Or Never EP made her a real player. From her breakout period onwards, Coi’s family tree and its history was only vaguely alluded to and wasn’t a major talking point.
Coi Leray & Trippie Redd backstage at S.O.B.'s in 2019 - Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images
Speaking to Paper Magazine as part of their 2019 profile on "Women In Hip-Hop", Coi not only referenced her father's past, but revealed that in the wake of his departure from the hip-hop media, Benzino and her mother severed ties. "Growing up, I was raised by my brothers and my mom. I have five brothers, and I'm the only girl," Coi revealed. "I was basically born in the industry, so I called myself Hannah Montana because I got the best of both worlds. My dad ran Source Magazine. Once Source was over, my mom and dad split."
When she finally discussed her upbringing and relationship with the Boston MC in greater depth, Coi's words didn’t exactly paint a picture of an idyllic, picket-fenced childhood.
"With my dad, by the time that I was like 9 and was understanding things, money wasn’t flowing like how it was," she informed Vlad TV. "So, when I moved in with my mom, things were different. Food stamps, having to work at 16, find a job. Dropped out at 10th grade, really just figure life out... it humbled me."
At present, it seems that Coi-- real name Brittany Collins-- remains on good terms with her mother as well as her brothers, one of whom is a fellow MC, Chavo, along with Taj Raymond and Kwame. She celebrated the latter's return to the world in August of last year, after he'd served an unspecified stint in jail.
Coi's mother's name, however, isn't in the public domain-- nonetheless YouTube channel Before They Were Famous has reported that her mom worked as a bartender, and even though her identity remains shrouded in mystery, the matriarch of her family has made sporadic appearances across Coi's social media pages. Mother's Day of last year saw Coi share an Instagram post that featured the pair sharing some blunts and exhibiting their shared talent for blowing smoke rings. We'll have to see what type of antics they get up to this Mother's Day.
As far as her father is concerned, every indication would suggest that regardless of what'd happened between him and her mom in the past, the two had brokered a relatively healthy relationship, up until very recently. Back when Coi was 14, it would be Benzino's YouTube channel that provided her with the initial platform, where she and her little brother Taj released their debut track "Bow Down," which Coi quickly followed up with a solo record and video on the same channel, "Rock Back."
Fast forward, and as recently as May 2020, Coi and Benzino were on solid ground, with Coi sharing an Instagram post that depicted herself and her brother Chavo with their hip-hop veteran father that was captioned simply "my world."
Having informed Adam22 of No Jumper that her father’s work ethic “inspired her” in September of 2020, it seemed as though the two were on amicable terms, but she remained adamant that her career would neither be aided or hindered by the founder of ZNO Records’ legacy.
Benzino Baits Eminem: The Calm Before The Storm
Benzino - Paras Griffin/Getty Images
Just two months removed from Coi Leray singing his praises, Benzino would abruptly and abrasively return to the news cycle by taking aim at an old foe.
"All they do is worship a corny tailed park trash kkkrakkker who puts words together and knows nothing about our culture," Benzino said of Eminem and his fans during a lengthy rant in November 2020. "He rhymes masturbator with elevator and all the corny white people go crazy, they goofy ass."
As expected, the recipient of his tirade didn’t even take the time to acknowledge Zino’s provocation. Nonetheless, the other half of Bad Meets Evil did take issue with Benzino’s words in January of this year..
Following in Em’s footsteps on "Nail In The Coffin'' by making mention of his daughter, Royce Da 5”9 proclaimed that, "I’m gon take your daughter to the park and let her ride the swings if you don’t quit spending your whole day being a twitter goon. She pussy popping on a handstand on IG. Now go hug her and tell her she’s beautiful before Drake or Trey Songz does."
At this point, Coi refused to wade in. But as the dust had begun to settle, Leray would use her biggest hit to date as an avenue to air her grievances with her father.
"No More Parties" Lyrics: The Catalyst
First dropped in late January, the Maaly Raw-produced "No More Parties" has accelerated Coi’s ascent like no other track in her catalogue. And alongside its infectious hook, Leray discussed some of her father’s failings in full view of the world, spitting.
"I’m too busy getting this money counting cheddar/My daddy let me down, but I promise you I won’t let up/I wanna say f*ck that man, but that sh*t won’t make me better."
Although it picked up some traction off the bat, it wasn’t until Lil Durk hopped on the remix in February that "No More Parties" became a phenomenon. Soon enough, it’d be certified gold, allowing her to achieve the sort of commercial success with a single that her father never could.
Somehow, it’d take a further nine days from the release of the Durk remix for Zino to catch wind of the track, but when he did, he wasn’t too pleased.
"That line in her song is [cap]," he declared via Instagram. "My name and rep is very important to me and nobody is gonna tarnish that for storyline u dig? I still love u very much but this gotta stop. You know I was there in your life every step of the way and when sh*t got rough, I still was there."
Signing off by asking Coi to "tell your mother enough is enough," Benzino continued to fight his corner throughout March 1st and refuted the idea that she had any sort of struggle.
"Coi was raised in a mansion and had everything she ever asked for. My other two sons are grown and would never say these things," he asserted. "Coi had everything she wanted. I was flying Coi to meet every summer, every Spring Break, every—she was in Miami. I got her in a movie... Every Christmas, Thanksgiving, she's with me."
But, just as Coi had unleashed her bars about her father’s shortcomings out to the world, his decision to take his thoughts to Instagram would spark an all-out mudslinging match.
"I'm Embarrassed To Be Your Daughter": Coi Leray & Benzino Beef
Coi Leray & Benzino - Johnny Nunez/WireImage/Getty Images & Thaddeus McAdams/WireImage/Getty Images
Rather than fall in line with her father’s request, Coi wasn’t backing down and went so far as to suggest that he was fabricating a narrative for social media that differed from what had truly happened.
"This mf has the nerve," she responded following an IG Live in March 2021. "It's crazy 'cause we was just on the phone crying yesterday, sharing this moment. Like, really sharin' the moment," she said during her live stream.
"For this man to come on here and do this is so lame and this is the reason he burned all his bridges today. I'm on billboard charting right now and all you can do is this lame shit? Yea still proving on how much you lack as a father."
She continued, "Just like a month ago he called me. We spoke. Told him I needed him. I needed my father in this cold world. He said I should’ve been a boy," she detailed in the comments. "And this is why I never wanted anybody to know! I’m embarrassed to be your daughter."
In the wake of this IG live tirade from Coi, Zino suggested that the things she had said could not be retracted.
"Now I'm bro and a bitch ass n***a. Really? Me?" he inquired with incredulity. "This is the most disrespectful shit I've ever experienced. The names she just called [me] can never be forgiven or forgotten. This not real. This is evil. I guess she had to play up to her fans and executives."
Blaming the corruptive forces of the industry and her mom wherever he could, but never looking inward, Benzino maintained that his daughter’s remarks weren’t grounded in reality. Likely exhausted after a two-day spell of throwing verbal daggers in each other’s direction, both parties seemed to agree to a ceasefire.
A month later, Coi confirmed as much, and offered an olive branch to her father. Perhaps after re-assessing the situation, she tweeted, "love my dad forever and always." Still, as much as this seemed like a definitive end, Benzino used this to twist the knife, and suggest that the lines of communication between the two had completely broken down.
"Fake love will make you hate love. So not only is the internet the place to tell someone you got beef, but it’s all the place to tell someone you love them?" He tweeted three days after Coi's initial post. "How bout using the same phone for the keypad and call button. Shits fake asf."
Despite Zino's apparent eagerness to declare war once more, April 16th 2021 would actually come to represent the day that the pair, for now at least, decided to let bygones be bygones.
Escalated by both parties, it appears that while Benzino may have lost his temper upon hearing her bars, cooler heads have prevailed on both sides.
In fact, Coi might have anticipated this exact response, as she actually discussed her father’s tendency to lose his cool when slighted by someone he cares for in a prior interview. "I know my dad, when he goes hard, it’s all out of love. Benzino is Benzino, there’s only one. So, you should love him. I actually have a song that I’m gonna drop one day where I talk about me and my dad’s relationship," she wryly revealed last August.
Despite the fact that they’re intertwined in newsworthiness at this moment, it’s likely that Benzino won’t be a factor in Coi’s career going forward. After all, Benzino has been out of hip-hop’s good graces for well over a decade now, so this is unlikely to really change anything. While in Coi’s case, her prospects are looking brighter than ever, even gaining the fabled Drake co-sign as the beef began to simmer.
With fans already clamouring for her next move, it’s fair to say that if she and her father can uphold this truce, it’s likely that this whole familial feud is only going to be a footnote in the road to commercial stardom.
Let us know if you're a fan of Coi Leray's music yet in the comment section. Sound off with your thoughts.