Benny Starr

Crown of SC

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HIP-HOP | Benjamin Starr

Rapper Benjamin Starr's 2015 album Free Lunch should need no introduction for local hip-hop fans. It was an infectious mix of laid-back jazz beats and heartfelt lyrics that demanded a societal course correction. Needless to say, it was easy to fall for. Starr kept rapping his way through concrete walls in 2016 with his involvement in the Very Hypnotic Soul Band and his single "Flowers," featuring local emcee hero Matt Monday. This year, Starr's returning to the world of solo records with a dedicated sequel to Free Lunch, titled der. The pronunciation is "water," by the way. "It's what I feel is needed after Free Lunch," says Starr. "[Free Lunch] had a defiant tone. It was like me speaking to anybody looking to devalue my people ... [der] is like my back is turned on speaking to them, and I'm speaking directly to my community." The new album will feature members of the Very Hypnotic Soul Band. Lyrically, the upcoming release will concentrate on various topics like spirituality, love, and the relationships between black men, women, and youth. "I'm just diving deeper into being more open emotionally." d r is expected to get a release in mid-August. ­ —Heath Ellison THURSDAY

Hip Hop History at the Hall

"Anfernee lit up the stage with a mixture of snappy lyrics and silky vocals that made the ladies stand to their feet. Walter Brown came with 808s laden with reflective, passionate lyrics, which engaged his audience on multiple levels. Benjamin Starr ripped the mic with political and societal reflections woven through rhyme schemes that nodded to true musical talent. The show was unforgettable." - Vaughn Postema, The Charleston Chronicle

Music, Moments, Messages... and Me

"I became a teenager in the year 2000, and it wasn't until then that I began to understand the immortality of Brother Marvin, thanks to his masterpiece, What's Going On. Beautiful records like "Inner City Blues," "God is Love," and "What's Happening, Brother" forced me to grapple with my own desire for love, an almost spiritual love, which I felt I was missing. I knew that what I heard in his music, I felt in my heart, and it was comforting to know someone else shared that." - Benjamin Starr, The Lit Issue