With New Mix-tape Benzino Continues Expanding Resume

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Benzino came into the Hip Hop industry in the early 80's.  He was a part of rap groups "Made Men" and "Almighty RSO" before sparking his solo career in 2001; that was just the beginning.  He went on to record four studio albums and a slew of
mix-tapes, most popular, those directed at Eminem during their highly publicized beef.  And he didn't stop there.  Benzino went on to run Hip Hop's first magazine, The Source, became a Media Executive and even got behind the scenes as a Record Producer for some of Hip Hop's hottest acts.  Still relevant after two decades in the industry, he can now be seen on VH1's Reality TV show, "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta".     

BSN: Good afternoon Benzino!  How are you?
BENZINO: I'm good, I'm good!  

As well you should be.  You have a lot going on right now.  You're shooting the new season of "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta",  your magazine, Hip Hop Weekly is doing great and you're dropping a new mix-tape today, titled "CRUSHED ICE".

BENZINO: Yes, yes.  I'm always working, especially on my music.  This mix-tape is dope.  Shows a more smoothed out, mature Benzino.  It's not a compilation, although I do have a few artists featured on some tracks, such as Stevie Jay and Crayzie Bone.  But other than that it's just me and the beats.

BSN: How difficult was it to shoot the reality show and find time to get in the studio?
BENZINO: Not hard at all.  It's easy for me to get in there and create.  It's what I do.  I've been in this game a long time, doing a lot of different things.  So I'm used to working on a few different projects at a time. 

BSN: What was the inspiration behind "CRUSHED ICE"?
BENZINO: It's been a minute since I've dropped something and I felt like it was time.  Making music is something that I'll always love to do,so it's just natural.  I actually just signed a new deal with AMS Entertainment, so I've been working on a lot of new music lately.  I'll be dropping a new single real soon with Bobby Valentino.  It's called, "Kiss me like you miss me".  It's hot!  

BSN: Sounds like we'll be hearing a nicer, mellowed-out Benzino?
BENZINO: That's the place I'm at right now.  No more gangsta rap for me.  I've been there, done that.  I've grown and evolved.  I mean I have teen-aged children now who are listening to my music, so I need to have something good to say.

BSN: Absolutely.  And I think we have more than enough hard core rap on the radio right now.
BENZINO: Yes. I'm making different music, it's for the ladies now.

BSN: You've been in the industry for over two decades now.  You are well-versed in every aspect of the music industry Benzino, from being an executive and an artist, to producing other artists.  Which role do you enjoy most?
BENZINO: Definitely making music. I loved running The Source and producing music for other artists as well, but music is my passion.  I'm very creative and hands on when it comes to my music, whether I'm making it for myself or another artist.

BSN: What can we expect from you on this season of  "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta"?
BENZINO: Well, last year I came in the middle of the season sort of giving advice to Stevie Jay about his issues and the things he was going through .  This season I will be there from beginning to end, so I'm going to have my own story and drama developing.  And I'm single now, so let's see what happens...  

BSN: We know you can't give up too much info.
BENZINO: Right, right!  We have to give the viewers something to look forward to.

BSN: Let's talk about Hip Hop Weekly.  It's an awesome magazine!  How did running the Source prepare you for this venture?
BENZINO: Well, it's me and Dave again, my partner, Dave Mays.  We started this magazine after we left the Source Magazine in '06.  I mean Dave and I are naturals when it comes to running magazines and publications.  We were the first ones to do it!   Actually, we were the first to do a lot of things...compilation albums, the Hip Hop Awards, etcetera.

BSN: You really were Benzino. The Source Awards were the first Hip Hop Awards show ever dedicated solely to Rap music.  We wouldn't have the BET Hip Hop Awards now if you guys hadn't opened that door.

BENZINO: We broke a lot of ground and we paved the way for a lot of people in the Hip Hop industry.  And it's great, I'm proud to say we did that.   

Is there anything you haven't done in the music industry?

BENZINO: Nah, I think I've covered just about everything. (Laughing)

BSN: It's been great speaking with you Benzino.  Thank you for your time and we wish you much continued success!
BENZINO: Thank you, thank you.  And I appreciate the support and the love.  Take care.

Music impresario Benzino continues to expand his already adept resume, adding "actor" to his long list of accomplishments.  Look for him on the new season of  "Love & Hip Hop Atlanta" on VH1, and today he drops his newest mix-tape, "CRUSHED ICE", hosted by Superstar Jay.  It includes features from Stevie Jay and Crayzie Bone of Bone Thugs & Harmony, as he introduces us to his alter ego ZINO GRIGIO, with 16 melodic, hypnotic tracks sure to keep your head-nodding.

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