Mr Benn (aka Ben Menter) is a name that has been bubbling away on the Bristol scene for many years, having released a number of records on the local Leisure imprint and running nights for many moons. Often working with MCs such as Blackout JA and Souls Liberation, his bumping mix of hip hop beats and reggae always struck a chord on the city’s dancefloors, although it was his track “Long Time” with legendary UK rapper Blak Twang that really put him on the map and cemented his hip hop/reggae style in clubs across the world. Remixes of Horace Andy, Cutty Ranks, Monkey Mafia and Joe Driscoll followed, earning him a solid reputation for shaking dancefloors.
Reared on a diet of Aswad, The Specials and King Tubby, with 90s hip hop as a backdrop as well as the emergent jungle scene, the musical influences behind his sound are vast and wide and infused with the eclectic culture that his home town of Bristol exudes. However, his more recent involvement with the Bristol Hifi Soundsystem (alongside Massive Attack’s very own Daddy G) has seen him digging deeper into his reggae roots for this, his debut album.
“Shake A Leg” is truly a labour of love, taking almost 4 years to complete (the title is a tongue in cheek reference to this!) and has seen Ben collaborate with some of his musical heroes such as THE RAGGA TWINS, TENOR FLY and TOP CAT – all certified veterans of the UK reggae scene. There are also a number of lesser known talents such as up-and-coming star EVA LAZARUS, Canada’s MC ZULU, Jamaica’s PEPPERY and NANCI CORRIEA from the Congo Natty crew, not forgetting Toddla T’s main hypeman SEROCEE, who featured on the lead single from the album “Rising Star”.
Taking in dub, roots, dancehall, bashment, hip hop, house, soca and dubstep – the album really is a true reflection of the UK’s ongoing obsession with Jamaican soundsystem culture and music past, present and future. With its eye firmly on the dancefloor it is sure to be the soundtrack to many a festival this summer.