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Burden of Proof

by Benny the Butcher

Released October 16, 2020 via Griselda Records / EMPIRE

Reviewed October 25, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
One Way Flight (57%), Burden of Proof (46%), Thank God I Made It (39%)

Burden of Proof presents us with a more introspective angle to the Griselda crew, far more self-reflective and emotionally open than anything they’ve dropped yet. It is a much needed breath of fresh air with them dropping project after project. The hardcore hip-hop edge remains, but instead of it being cover to cover about the crimes they had to commit to get to where they are, Benny the Butcher focuses on how they can take the trauma of street life and turn it into positivity. His ability to turn such sad situations into beautiful poetry is something to behold and admire. Instrumentally, Burden of Proof also takes a slight departure for the crew, featuring much more slick, modern production in favor of the gutter-like beats heard on most of their other work. There are still those great moments where Benny shows he’s not to be fucked with, but the more mature and unifying themes of the record held my attention the most. I really hope that this starts a new chapter for Griselda, especially with Conway’s latest album also following a more introspective direction. – Jared (8.5/10)

"Born in '84 but I'm like '97 Hov" – these are the words Benny scowled on his 2018 breakthrough, Tana Talk 3, setting the bar for what he saw inside himself as a rapper, entrepreneur, and emblematic ghetto survivor. Burden of Proof offers the Griselda prospect a chance to make good on that lofty parallel and the Butcher certainly does the comparison justice. Tough talk too slick to be ignored and slick talk too tough to be unsubstantiated. And with Hit-Boy inserting an almost off-brand modernity into the Buffalo sound, Benny's crossover potential is affirmed. The streets strike gold on Burden of Proof. – Enth (8/10)

Benny the Butcher is unapologetically one of the hardest emcees to ever pick up the mic. Burden of Proof is emblematic of taking a victory lap around the industry. It doesn’t fall under the same in-your-face Griselda sound that many have grown accustomed to; Proof is a more refined project that hits hard in a different way. One theme that sticks out is one of absorption. The Butcher is celebrating all that he has accomplished. That’s not to say this album lacks hunger, he’s just feeding himself from a different perspective. His voice carries a sound of satisfaction, not complacency. “Thank God I Made It,” “Famous,” and “Legend,” make this apparent. He ain’t gonna be a legend soon, he’s a legend now.. At the end of the day this is a dope project. Benny’s on a new wave, and if you don’t pay attention, you're gonna drown.The butcher ain’t coming, he’s already here. – Daniel (8/10)

Despite Benny the Butcher’s grimy track record, with albums that have felt as emblematic of drug rap as any of this past decade, Burden of Proof is the spoils of a modern-day victor. Hit-Boy’s contribution, paired with Benny’s reminiscent and sometimes even celebratory bars, is an ambitious victory lap for a rising star that’s still rising. It is an entertaining departure from Griselda’s aesthetic, with enough appearances from familiar faces to make the fans feel comfortable, but still hungry for more. – Ben (Synth) (6/10)

Ben (Synth): 8.5/10 | Jared: 8.5/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Enth: 8/10

Cam: 7.8/10 | Dominick: 7.5/10 | Pax: 7.5/10 | Hadley: 7/10


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