Review Summary: Hip hop that does not come from one of the genre's central points, but still works.
These days hip hop does not just belong to New York or Los Angeles, it is a worldwide phenomenon. This has certainly brought along quite a number of international hip hop artists. In most cases, these artists stick to their native language, as it might be the best way to express their personal experiences.
But, then, there are those hip-hoppers around the world that do their wordplay in English. Even more so, some try to emulate and involve themselves in experiences that are not really yours, and in most cases, no matter how good the music, beats, and samples are, the results of such ventures can be quite abysmal. Benjamin Elias, aka Benjamin Elia$ is based in Tel Aviv Israel and as evident by his On The Way album, he does his hip hop in English. And it really works!
First of all, Elia$ knows his way about both melody and beats, but that is only part of the story. Secondly, Benjamin has no problem expressing himself in English. After all, he was born in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Israel when he was 13. But, the real key lies in the fact that he doesn’t try to imagine himself in Denver or Chicago, but tries to speak about the experiences he is familiar with (“The Message,” “Am$terdam”). The fact that he really has no problem with word rhythms certainly helps.
So, what kind of hip hop does Benjamin Elia$ gives us? Well, you can call it pop hip hop of sorts, where melody and silky arrangements take priority to the beats. But then, in pop, whether it is combined with hip hop or not there is certainly only one rule of thumb - it is either good or bad. And on On the Way, Benjamin Elia$ has come up with some excellent pop (hip hop).