“The Name Comes From Me”: Yellow Tooth Bastard by Benzo x blackgmbit Out Now
By Madeline Roper
The newest Benzo LP titled Yellow Tooth Bastard emerges from a collaboration with Tulsa producer blackgmbit—a creative partnership sixteen years in the making.
“We met in the third grade,” Benzo (Lorenzo MacLean) said. “I remember we went and saw the Incredibles together.”
“Yeah that memory is etched into my subconscious,” blackgmbit (Adam Townsend) said.
The album cover consists of pictures of Benzo and blackgmbit’s third grade class. The two artists and friends have collaborated before, but Yellow Tooth Bastard is their first full-length project together. According to Benzo, he had always wanted to do an album with blackgmbit production on every track.
“It’s personal,” Benzo said. “That’s why I’m glad he could be there to produce it all for me—since I’ve known him for a long time.”
Blackgmbit cited the early 2000s production styles of Pharrell and Timbaland as the main sonic inspiration for the album’s groovy beats and mid-tempo sound. But, he leaves his unique mark by adding glitches and synth distortions to the tracks. The mixing of the two production styles is highlighted on blackgmbit’s favorite track on the album, Real.
“Benzo’s voice has this ghoulish quality to it,” blackgmbit said. “I love how it matches the beat that’s kind of spacey and aired out.”
Yellow Tooth Bastard is a quick, easy listen with most tracks clocking in under two and a half minutes, but even in these short tracks, the production and lyrics carry serious depth. The record rewards those who listen close with phrasing and tone that is clever and fun one moment and deeply personal the next.
“The name comes from me,” Benzo said. “I kind of have yellow tinted teeth, and I’m a bastard of sorts since my mom wasn’t married when I was born.”
The more raw subject matter comes from Benzo treating his song book like a diary. He hopes to find listeners that connect with not only the sound, but also the story behind the artist.
“I do talk about some personal things I probably wouldn’t say to my family,” Benzo said. “It would be dope if people resonate with it and get connected.”
As his audience hears Yellow Tooth Bastard for the first time, Benzo is already looking toward his future. As the title of his favorite track on the album suggests, there is Hope for more growth as an artist and more opportunities to share his work.
“There’s more to come and I’m just gonna get better,” Benzo said.
Stream Yellow Tooth Bastard on Apple Music, Spotify, and Tidal now.