New Jersey emcee Beneficence was already a veteran of sorts when I first heard of him in 2012. I learned that he had been active as a rapper since the 1990s, and that he's a close affiliate of the duo Artifacts. I got to know about his work through his fifth album, Concrete Soul, which was one of my favorite hip hop albums of 2012! Beneficence Is the kind of guy who stayed true to that warm and jazzy 90s boom bap style throughout his career, and who salutes that era all the time. And don't get me wrong: his nostalgia doesn't get annoying! Concrete Soul is a celebration of the New York and New Jersey scenes and lifestyles, and sounds warm and welcoming doing so. No mean and gritty crime-ridden tales here. What you get instead is a list of fellow veterans as guest emnees: Grap Luva, Rob-O, AG, El Da Sensei, Roc Marciano, MOP, Chubb Rock, Masta Ace... The production is handled by a bunch of beatmakers, including Buckwild, K-Def and Confidence, who all contribute their most comforting and nostalgic tunes. My favorite tracks? Y.W.E. ft.Lord Tariq, Cold Train ft. Grap Luva and Rob-O, Concrete Soul ft. Troo Kula, All Real ft. AG, Hood Cartel ft. Roc Marci, and Reality vs. Fiction ft. Masta Ace.
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