Gamer Soundtracks: Benjamin Bear is the Wizard
The rap game is not always one that is played on an even playing field. While the mainstream corrals the sheep on Top 40 radio, independent hip-hop artists push their creative boundaries and focus strong on the art of the lyrics and music. The segmentation at the independent levels of hip-hop is full of individual genres and streams of moderate success. Yet, it is at this level of independent music that we tend to find artists that do more than just pique our interest. We find artists like Benjamin Bear, who if revealed to a mainstream audience, would revolutionize the rap game.
I have personally reviewed Benjamin Bear several times, here is the review for Everything Left and here is the review for Tuesday, which is one of the best hip-hop albums I have ever listened to. While Benjamin Bear has released several EP’s since those two albums, it wasn’t until his most recent release, Wizard that I felt the need to bring his music to the mainstream once again. With Wizard Benjamin Bear once again delves into his personal life with a collection of songs that are literally, magical.
Every song on the album is related to magic, from the opening track “Dark Forces” to the theme from the movie/show/musical “Police Wizard”, which is yet to exist. Adding their own magic to the album, Benjamin Bear is joined by Rappy McRapperson, MC Wreckshin, Quartz Relic, Rose Wylin, YTCracker and Betty Rebel. This collection of sharp tongued rappers only adds to the value of Wizard though Benjamin Bear himself never fails to ignite the mind. A creative voice, in both lyric and tone, Benjamin Bear crafts another album that will have you bobbing your head while trying to off n00bs in COD:BOPS2. I suppose it helps that Benjamin Bear, by his own accord, is a fully certified wizard, and this album is a warning.
“I made this album as a warning,” Benjamin Bear tells me over email. “You see, for hundreds of years, an alliance of dark wizards have sought to control the world through their dark magic, and through the considerable power and influence they have collected throughout the centuries, they now control every facet of mainstream media.”
Additionally, according to Benjamin Bear, there is a deeper, more mysterious reason we’ve subconsciously moved to purchasing music online versus in the store. “The real reason record companies are mad that you’re not buying CDs anymore? They trap a lower demon into each album to control your mind. Of course, there’s still TV and radio, and the dark magic that is woven into the music itself, but those guys are completists and they’ve been grumbling lately about how ‘it just doesn’t work the same without the lesser demon.’”
Wizard is peppered with humor and wit throughout, bringing to the forefront a career choice of many, not usually brought to light. The music is full of wizard related samples and hooks, thanks to the magic of the internet and possibly free use material. Benjamin Bear speaks to the instrumentals on the album; “When I made the instrumentals, I wanted them to be a tribute to popular wizardry, so every sample is wizard themed, from the opening track that samples ‘Pinball Wizard,’ to the closing track that samples King Crimson, which are a band of actual wizards that have existed throughout time.”
Bottom line, Wizard is an entertaining hip-hop album whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not. It goes great with The Legend of Zelda or even one of the many Final Fantasy titles. A fast paced and energetic album, you’ll be wondering where the next half of the LP is. It does come in pretty short, but then Benjamin Bear will probably have another couple EP’s out before you know it. In the end though, I really wanted to know what it was like to be a real live wizard, so I asked him.
“I have been alive for over 3000 years. Imagine how bored you get during your normal human lives, and multiply that by 1000. That’s how bored I get. Fortunately I have powerful magic, but still. I spent a whole year asleep just because I could. Being a wizard is pretty trill, you can never be late, you can pretty much do whatever, and you can’t die of natural causes. Any other questions?”
You can download Wizard at Benjamin Bear’s Bandcamp Site. While free is an option, be sure to donate, support independent musicians.