Bruce Benson is a hip hop artist from Van Nuys, Los Angeles CA. who has recently released his “Red Honda” EP. Here Benson wrestles with the fragility of life, relationships and the impact of family ties. Thematically, this appears to be a cohesive effort. The more you delve into the EP, the more you realize it is story focused and like every story, there’s progression. He tells a story of struggle, love and of changing oneself for the better, and he tells us about his dreams and hopes – “When I was a kid, I thought that I would be rich.”
We may not know if there is any truth to the pictures that Bruce Benson paints with his storytelling. We may not know if he actually went through all of those things, but the story that Benson tells is at once impacting, informative and important nonetheless. And that’s all that should matter from a listener’s standpoint.
As impressive as these songs are, it is one thing to weave impressive stories, but it is a whole other feat to successfully create a recording that remains both cohesive and sonically interesting. Accomplishing this while also having songs that are strong enough to stand alone outside of their larger body of work, is something very few fully achieve. Talents like Cole and Kendrick are among the few who pull this off effortlessly.
There are moments where Bruce Benson’s vision comes to life and he unquestionably succeeds better than in others. Particularly impressive in this respect are songs like “Summer Regret”, “Glory”, “Summertime”, “That’s Life” and “Glass Ceilings”.
All throughout these songs Benson makes his point about how the little things make a big difference in a relationships, and life in general. I can’t think offhand of how many others have accomplished this same concept in any way, as most rappers are always looking at the bigger picture rather than getting in behind the smaller details that really are important.
“Red Honda” is an artist’s bold attempt at a tighter, more focused project, with no obvious grasps at mainstream radio play. Furthermore one must applaud Benson for attempting to accomplish such a feat, with only seven songs, which means the room for error is minimal.
From the opening track, Benson makes it clear that this is not going to be a high energy, party album. He’s seriously searching for something here — maybe his own happiness? Like many of the best recordings of our time, “Red Honda” taps into the trials, fears and anxieties we have all felt sometime in our lives.
Bruce Benson is a complete musical talent and we need to appreciate what he brings to the table. We need to absorb his messages because they truly are deep ones.