Benji Boko 'Beats, Treats & All Things Unique'
After building his repertoire with his talented and quite daring DJ sets called Can I Mix It where he would improvise his mixing live on stage each night, the fast rising star obtained a strong fan base including his peers Zane Lowe, Jaguar Skills, Rob Da Bank and DJ Yoda. Now, the young man from Brighton has produced his first 19 track record. Heavily inspired by some of his idols Beardyman, Fatboy Slim, DJ Yoda and The Neptunes, he has also grabbed inspiration from cartoons, Peter Sellers, Monty Python and fairytales to stretch his imagination to the point of the unknown through his unusual style of Hip Hop-infused pop.
Interestingly, Benji has picked up the collaboration exploits of ex-Faithless front man Maxi Jazz, Roots Manuva’s Ricky Rankin, Deuce Eclipse and Boko’s seven year old cousin in both the intro and outro who has been credited with the name Mr. Louis. Keeping the cards close to his chest as always, there wasn’t a real plan of what each collaborator was going to do on the record. Maxi was brought in for his soulful voice through the mellow track 'Where My Heart Is' and Ricky free-styled his part on the spot for the song 'No. 1 Sound' which somehow works.
Another charming quality about this record is the random interludes spread across the track listings. Sometimes a welcome break in between tracks, other times an amusing/random piece of sound to bring out the charm of Boko. 'I Had A Dream (Mini Obama)' being one of them was inspired by a fortune-telling vinyl record found in a charity shop. The way Benji’s mind works to put that thought process into a skit is remarkable.
A track that would define this album would have to be 'Benji Bolognese'. With a name like Bolognese, you can expect things to get a little messy, but the track just hops you from one side of the spectrum to the other, keeping you strapped in for the ride.
Sometimes DJs with huge promise get ahead of themselves and think because they can mix well known songs together with ease, they can create a hit record. Most of the time, they fall flat on their face, but Benji Boko is someone who breaks that mold. A record so diverse where you can listen to it in a mellow environment or at a crazy festival, there are no limits. Definitely someone for the future who will no doubt be around for many years to come.
Benji Boko’s debut album Beats, Treats & All Things Unique is released June 20th on Tru Thoughts Records.
MOBO gives this record a total of 4 Ms out of 5.
Words: Dean Woodhouse
To hear more from Benji Boko go to: http://www.benjiboko.com/
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