Popular hip-hop artist Benji. returns to Pittsburgh recording studio | Pittsburgh City Photos | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Popular hip-hop artist Benji. returns to Pittsburgh recording studio

click to enlarge Benji. works on his music inside ID Labs on Sat., Jan. 23, 2021 in Etna. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Benji. works on his music inside ID Labs on Sat., Jan. 23, 2021 in Etna.
"Smile, You're Alive," a tweet that has been sent every day for months by popular hip-hop artist Benji., is as much a daily reminder to be grateful as it is a reminder that his re-released album of the same name will be coming out in the near future possibly as soon as March.

I joined him inside the ID Labs studio on Saturday in Etna to document a little bit of the work that goes on behind-the-scenes. Recording most of his vocals at his new home studio in Atlanta, Benji. takes his producing work to the studio to keep up his focus and productivity that can be easily distracting from home. Benji., also part of the collective Spillage Village, who recently released the album Spilligion, is juggling a number of projects simultaneously.

Watching the artist create something from scratch with nothing but a sample and a measure or two on the keyboards in the same studios that helped build the careers of Wiz Khalifa and the late Mac Miller was truly a special treat. The session started with DJ Afterthought opening the doors and having Benji. and manager DJ Milliner listening to some new projects. But one face I didn't recognize was that of Mani Bahia, who was taking notes and who I found out Benji. helped mentor as part of "The KRUNK Movement," a student-led program at Center of Life in the Hazelwood neighborhood, which describes itself as using "the elements of hip-hop through dance, songwriting, beat making, recording engineering, visual art, and equipment management to communicate positive messages about current events and mental health to peers."


Documenting various stages of Benji.'s life and career has been a fun transition to witness firsthand. The ability to have candid conversations with fellow artists about their craft, the details, struggles, insecurities, and, ultimately, the successes is something we can all relate to.

click to enlarge Benji. talks with DJ Afterthought inside ID Labs. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Benji. talks with DJ Afterthought inside ID Labs.
click to enlarge Benji. talks with Mani Bahia inside ID Labs. - CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
Benji. talks with Mani Bahia inside ID Labs.
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham
click to enlarge CP PHOTO: JARED WICKERHAM
CP Photo: Jared Wickerham

Comments (0)