If Benny the Butcher’s breakout The Plugs I Met EP represented his rise, where he jumped into many fans’ top fives with a seven-track display of deft lyricism and grizzled storytelling, The Plugs I Met 2 represents the fallout of that ascent. On the nine-track project, he discusses survivor’s remorse, ungrateful friends, and more non-forecasted travails over a perfectly scored Harry Fraud soundscape.
If The Plugs I Met 2 was a crime film, it would be Godfather 2, with endless assonance, the beyond-the-grave presence of the late Chinx, and Benny’s “No Instructions” threat of a “clip long enough to do a drive-by for two blocks straight.”
Speaking with Complex before the album’s release, Benny reminds us multiple times that while his previous work is a reflection of what he’s been through, this EP is what he’s going through. The adage is “heavy is the head that wears the crown,” and on The Plugs I Met 2, Benny delves into the weight of his past and present, ounce-by-ounce, with the help of Harry.
Benny and Harry say they’ve been working on a project since 2017 (before the first The Plugs I Met). Benny eventually realized the vibe of their Brooklyn studio sessions was so similar to those of the original The Plugs I Met that he wanted to bestow their project with the name.
“After we started recording a couple of songs, it just felt like it,” Benny reveals, reflecting on sessions with other producers, artists, and friends who helped build an atmosphere conducive to creativity.
“When Benny put us in that direction, I looked at it like, ‘Okay, cool,’” Harry says. “But I also knew what came with that, like, ‘OK, I better fucking show out every chance and really give this guy that feeling, so that he could write his best stuff.’”
Harry says his creative process was shaped by conversations with Benny’s Griselda comrades, like producer Daringer and the late DJ Shay, who told him stories about the Griselda movement that helped The Plugs I Met 2 become a chronicle of an era of New York rap with Chinx, Jim Jones, French Montana, and Fat Joe features.
“I knew we were like-minded when he came through with some Tiger Bone when we went to the first session,” Harry fondly recalls of Shay. “And then just sitting in there with him, he would play me beats and tell me the lineage of everything, and how he had connected with French and Chinx back in the day. That gave us inspiration for lining things up and making those connections, because this is The Plugs I Met. It’s telling the story of Benny along the way.”
Harry says he would craft beats whenever he knew Benny was set to come to Brooklyn, and he’d make sure to have “a little clip to run through” for those sessions.
“Harry’s the type of person where he works with a lot of artists, so he can hear you on something,” Benny explains. “Even if he’s got a thousand beats, he’ll probably pick out of that thousand and only play what he hears me on.”
The project exhibits a synergy of shared work ethic, musical tastes, and as our phone call reveals, a shared worldview that made the project a genuine collaboration.
“I’ve got to catch a real vibe with you to really work,” Harry says. “So I think we started all the way back then, and then we started building that momentum. The songs kept getting better and better, and really coalesced.”
Many artist-producer collaborations result in dozens of recorded songs that get whittled down to a select few that make the project, but Benny and Harry recorded with the efficiency of an NBA duo that never played together but know the game so well they fit like puzzle pieces.
“We might be nine for nine on this,” Benny proclaims. “I recorded it over a period of time, but it’s not that we needed all that time—it was just whenever I was in the city, I would lock in. I had a project or two coming out before that, so I got the chance to let this project marinate, and that’s what I love about all my projects.”
That patience led to a worthy sequel to one of Benny’s most beloved projects, which just may be a prelude to another sequel down the line. When asked about his next music plans, Benny doesn’t say much, but says enough: “Tana Talk 4, we’ll see when I come.”
For now, The Plugs I Met 2 is here. Read below for a track-by-track breakdown.