Some "You Need to Hear This" songs slap you in the face, grab you by the shirt, pull you in and slam headphones on you. Four minutes later, you've heard a piece of music you'll never forget. And some "You Need to Hear This" songs sneak into your heart like that co-worker you start off ignoring and then a month later, you're sitting in a conference room, catch their eye and you suddenly realize that you've been overlooking this thing of beauty.
Jarren Benton's new release, "Scared," sits somewhere in between those two poles. As always, Benton's delivery is passionate and impossible to ignore, so in that sense it's a face slapper. But unlike always, or at least unlike your average Benton track, he takes his foot off the schizophrenic gas pedal and gets deeply personal. He gets...scared.
Benton's gripping delivery and fearless lyrics are enough on their own, but we also get a hook from OnCue, who as far as I'm concerned is tragically underused as a hook singer, and a closing section from the one and only Big Rube. Have we ever really paid proper tribute to Big Rube? He feels like exactly the kind of artist we take for granted until he passes and we suddenly recognize the legacy he's left behind. Hopefully that moment won't come for decades, but let's still appreciate him now.
Fear is the emotion we all know best and all refuse to acknowledge most, but Jarren's never been afraid to go where others won't. Now that Funk Volume has fallen apart I'm eager to see where he goes from here (Slow Motion, Vol. 2 is set for release on 7/22) because I know that wherever he goes, Jarren simply doesn't know how to give anything less to the music than everything he has.
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram