Traditionally, Bakersfield and Stockton aren’t known as the hotbeds for national Hip-Hop talent like some of their sister cities are. Still, both areas have substantial scenes that have produced a handful of intriguing names like MBNEL and a few others. Among those names, two of the artists that have stood out the most have been Joe Maynor (Bakersfield) and Benny Soliven (Stockton). After a handful of collaborations, they finally give in to the demands of their fans and connect for their star studded joint-album, Joe & Benny.
At 26-minutes, Joe & Benny is a fun, engaging ride that finds the duo trading boastful raps over festive production. Over the 9-tracks, they welcome features from Phora, RJMrLA, 1takejay, Fenix Flexin’, Drakeo The Ruler and DDG, which looks like it would create congestion but instead does the opposite. Stepping into each of their worlds, sonically, Joe & Benny utilize each feature to showcase their versatility, switching through melodies and cadences at a quick and seamless rate. On, “Blow it,” they utilize a Too Short sample to combine with 1takejay for an intriguing party anthem, while on, “Lifestyle,” they connect with DDG for a romantic record for the ladies. The boys are at their best, though, when they’re being boastful and rapping, as evidenced on, “For What,” one of the few records without a feature and, “Say That Then.” Produced by Kel24K, the Drakeo-assisted record is a creepy banger that finds the duo going back and forth with one of Rap’s most intriguing prospects over anxious production, making for the project’s best track.
With such an eye-popping feature list, it’s likely that this project will net some listeners based on that alone. What will keep them coming back, though, is the glowing chemistry between Joe & Benny, who stand out on this project among some of California’s best. Take a listen to the project below and get familiar.