If you happened to be one of the people who spoke out against skinny jeans, the New Boyz want you to know they don't care. If you thought their music was too "pop," they don't care about that either. And if you didn't like the fact that they made up a dance to go along with their debut single, guess what? The New Boyz ain't thinking about you.
Or are they? On their sophomore album, Too Cool To Care, Earl "Ben J" Benjamin and Dominic "Legacy" Thomas address the haters and the backlash they caught as rappers who pretty much just did their own thing. “Anyone coming out with a dance, anyone coming out with the skinny jeans on, of course you gonna get haters from that,” says Legacy, one-half of the L.A.-based duo. “People didn’t realize we were actually able to rap. They was just worried about them jeans. We felt like since we had a dance; we had to work twice as hard to prove ourselves.”
Well, with over a year gone by, a lot of skinny jeans worn and some dance moves later, the New Boyz feel as though this is the album that will establish them as artists. “I’ve been trying to rap since I was 8-years-old. So I’m not trying to be, finally makin’ it, and be known as just that jerkin artist. We tryin’ to go way farther than that,” Legacy says. Musically, the duo doesn’t want to be boxed in or defined. They rap, dance, and make hits with Ray J (“Ain’t Gonna Tie Me Down”). At 19-years-old, the New Boyz are leading a new generation of rap artists—a generation that has grown up with hip-hop as the popular music, where the Black Eyed Peas sell out arenas and rappers play guitars.
“Musicwise, we got songs we got rock songs with singing, pop tracks. And then we got hip hop tracks; we got R&B tracks, love tracks. It’s just a wide variety of music. We like to try different things,” he says. “We definitely make tracks for people to dance to, but we’re not dancers. We wanted to make sure on this new album, we show ourselves as artists and what the New Boyz is really about.”
And though some in the hip-hop community can be a little harsh when making references to a group like the New Boyz, one thing is certain. To their fans and young girls, it’s all good. “We’re always throwing parties at the hotel. A lot of times, we get kicked out of the hotels…. We got banned from a couple of cities because of riots and fights. It was one show we did that four girls fainted and one girl had a seizure. We was on the news and they was like, ‘New Boyz they came and shut it down’,” he says.
Ah, the rock star life…in hip hop. Ben J and Legacy are just beginning, so they often forget about their newfound stardom when they meet others. “My favorite rapper is Wiz Khalifa,” says Ben J. “I met him in Miami, hung out with him for two days straight. It was just awesome being there just seeing how he works, and he’s blowing up so big right now.” Legacy cites Eminem and Kanye West as two of his influences. “Eminem was definitely my inspiration coming up as a kid, just like how he put words together, how he rhymes his whole syllables, instead of just one word, he rhymed like the whole sentence. Every syllable. I kinda used that. And then Kanye West, definitely, from his creative side, like the producing and just going out the box and not stickin’ to the 8bar hook, 16 bar verse.”
So Kanye, Eminem, Wiz, and everyone else in the hip hop community, if you are listening, Ben J and Legacy are a part of real hip-hop just like you. And whether or not you rock a skinny jean (Jay-Z has worn them, and even N.W.A. back in ’88 as Ben J pointed out) or a sheepskin or a polka dot shirt, just continue to do you. Because isn’t that what hip-hop is really about?