With jerk fever gripping the nation with fluorescent, polka-dotted fists, it’s safe to the say that the New Boyz have successfully carved a niche that has earned them recognition as well as enough dollar signs to set the standards on weekly allowance. But is it gimmick or geniality that’s got them to this far?
Prepare to be crumple your premeditated notions of Cali’s latest duo live, for at just 17 years young, Ben J. & Legacy exalt integral knowledge of what they’re out to accomplish. Let them tell it, all they need is one mic. And a couple of pairs of skinny jeans of course.
TSS: O.K. “You’re A Jerk” can be described as a runaway hit amongst other things. Was this intentionally planned like you made the song and then decided to pursue a rapping career?
Ben J: Not at all. Legacy was in the booth freestyling and he said something about “being a jerk” and it sounded tight. So he put it on Fruity Loops and chopped it up and it just came out dope. It took us about 2 hours to record and engineer the song and like an hour for him to make the beat. It was basically based on the dance that started in L.A. and is spreading across the country.
Legacy: It’s also double meaning as you may know. You can relate to it by saying “I’m a jerk because I know how to do the dance” or people call their boyfriend or girlfriend jerks so we wanted it to appeal it everybody.
TSS: Would you say it picked up where the hyphy movement left off?
Ben J: Yep, yep basically. The Jerk is like a total package. It has its own culture, fashion and dance. And today, the nerds nowadays are basically considered the cool kids. You got people who weren’t doing nothing promoting clubs and making big money off their businesses. So this whole thing is positive.
Legacy: It’s like a complete different direction we’re going with it though. A lot of people do think we’re from the Bay because of the sound. We definitely trying to put a new side of California that coincides with our age group on the map.
TSS: When did y’all know you were going to be an official group like as far as even recruiting a manager?
Legacy: We were trying to do it big as soon as possible so the management kind of came early. But I would say we knew were official when I went to YouTube and typed in “jerk + New Boyz” and saw hundreds of videos of people doing the dances to our songs. So that’s when I knew that this might go somewhere.
Ben J: When we started, we didn’t think we were going blow up like that. Only reason why we did start a group because that’s what everybody was doing at the time in our area. But we didn’t even say “Oh, we need to go get a manager…” they came to us through MySpace. Everything just kind of fell into place.
TSS: Being pretty popular in your age group, what’s a New Boyz’ show like?
Ben J: Pretty hype! We’re not like regular celebrities rapping to the crowd. We have a function — a party! If it was up to us, we’d let the fans get on the stage with us and jerk and stuff (Laughs.) Cuz you know we seventeen, it’s still fun and games for us; we love to life! We talk to the crowd and interact with them. We do it all.
Legacy: They’re live; we turn ‘em into real live parties. We interact with the crowd all the time.
TSS: So the girls ever get a little Rated-R on y’all?
Ben J: Oh you know, we can gyrate a lil’ bit (Laughs!) Especially when we go to the clubs and we don’t have any rules to follow. It can get pretty dope! (Laughs!!!)
Legacy: We do anything we can to make the girl’s scream pretty much (Laughs.) The 18+ clubs can get pretty wild.
TSS: Looking at you guys’ Twitter pages, I see Ben J Wifey 09, I see New Boyz “fans” for every state, what y’all doing to these girls young playas?
New Boyz: (Laughs!!!!!!!)
Ben J: We ain’t doing nothing dawg! (Laughs!!!)
TSS: Being new artists in a new technology era, has Twitter helped your careers?
Ben J: Yeah actually Twitter has been a big help. That’s why the industry is on it so much…it’s so big! You can post an event and get 5,000 people to come just like that! The whole Internet in general is a big help. That’s how we got signed [MySpace.]
Legacy: Yeah we just put “You’re a Jerk” on MySpace and then it shot over to YouTube and then it just hit all the networking sites. And I love the fans for RTing the stuff we put up.
TSS: Do you expect fans to go out and show the same support for the CD when it hits stores?
Legacy: Realistically, nobody buys music anymore ya feel me? But we’re trying our hardest to win over as many people as we can by staying in touch and communicating and giving it a big push. Because while they album sales might not be ridiculous, we’re trying to get it better than average.
TSS: You guys embraced skinny jeans so much, you put it in your album title. How did that even become a trend?
Ben J: (Laughs) It came from the 80’s ya know. And people stopped doing it because baggy became the new trend. We even rocked baggy for awhile. Then we had 80’s Day at our school and everybody had their bright colors and skinny jeans and we took upon ourselves to do it everyday. And at first, nobody was feeling it on a regular basis ya know? But we didn’t care. And that’s where I mindset is at because we don’t what people say to us. And when was doing, the entire L.A. was doing it too so that’s where it originated.
Legacy: It’s like the whole West Coast theme. People who were scared to do them at first, it’s like now it’s cool. The creative people. Now it’s people trying to be themselves instead of just focusing on being hard or another kind of image. And we already knew people were going to say whatever. Our families were the first ones (Laughs.) When we put it on, they were like “What the hell are y’all thinking?” But it grew on them. And eventually it did for everybody else too. If you carry yourself the right way, over time people learn to respect you if you don’t say nothing at all. Or they’ll just keep hating if they’re naturally haters.
TSS: With the album Skinny Jeans & A Mic, should the fans expect similar vibes to that of “You’re a Jerk?”
Legacy: It has dancing songs but if you really listen closely, people will actually say “Dang, these dudes are actually spitting.” We can rap about a range of topics over dance beats. And in a way, that’s our strategy. To get played in clubs while getting our point across at the same time.
Ben J: I mean a lotta people come to me like “Are y’all only gonna make jerk songs?” And then there’s the people who say “Make more songs like that, I wanna jerk, I wanna jerk, I wanna jerk!” But our album is basically fun. Fun-Hop. You can call it that: Fun-Hop (Laughs.) We got more jerk songs because we can’t abandon our movement, we got slow R&B grooves for the ladies, songs that you can just rock your head to and we got funny tracks that you can laugh to.
TSS: Who did the production?
Legacy: I did a couple tracks. But I wouldn’t even consider myself a producer because I’ve only been doing it for like 5 months. I could honestly say I don’t like doing it like that either but it’s something I have to do if we want to make money the right way.
Ben J: J. Hawk, our boy Talent, J. Nari did the rest.
TSS: What kind of equipment do you use Legacy?
Legacy: I use Fruity Loops. I downloaded a bunch of packs from the Internet and plugged it in the program. Same way I made “You’re a Jerk.”
TSS: On the flipside though, there’s older music fans that say your brand of Hip-Hop isn’t “real” or what not. How are you responding to that? I know you’ve heard it before.
Ben J: Yeah, they say we’re killing Hip-Hop but I say that’s bogus because there’s soooo many parts to Hip-Hop. You got your heads that just wanna bob their head to in the car and then you got your fans that wanna listen to it to party and go to clubs. So if the whole world was just making music you can only bob your head to, what would you use for a party? And we do it all. And then you gotta remember, we’ve been doing music before the jerk movement. So it’s not the only thing we’re about.
Legacy: And I can’t even get mad at people because the first thing they heard from us is a dance record. But yeah, were going to show the world what the New Boyz are all about. We’re working on a mixtape after the album. Our actions will speak louder than words.
TSS: What is you guy’s musical background. What did you grow up listening to?
Ben J: Me personally it was Ice Cube, Bone Thugs N’ Harmony…I had a little Biggie mix and of course Jay-Z because that’s my dad’s favorite rapper. And Lil’ Wayne is my favorite rapper to this day. It was a lot of stuff but I’m not so far deep into where I know all the older rappers because I was more into the generation I grew up on. People say “Y’all don’t know nothing about Hip-Hop” but at seventeen, there’s no way you listen to it all. I was born in ’91! I’m listening to what my people are listening to. I’ma get around to it though.
Legacy: I grew up listening to Eminem a lot. He was my inspiration basically. Just the way he put his words together and how he rhymed, I picked that up at an early age. Everytime I listened to an Eminem CD, it would inspire me to just start writing my own rhymes. The new one is cool too.
TSS: The thought of y’all having any sort of words or disputes with Soulja Boy seems kind of silly. Do y’all think he’s threatened of your presence though?
Legacy: I can’t speak on what other artists think but hopefully we can continue to do things that will have them to feel threatened I guess. That’s when you know you’re doing something right, I really can’t even call it.
Ben J: People that know about the situation keep saying “Oh, he’s just intimidated by you guys..” but personally I really don’t even care. Like in the back of my mind, I can say “Yeah.” He probably is because we’re in the same market and we’re new. But right now we just worried about what we got going on. We got an album coming out, three movies, clothing line, water & juice. Why waste time on the Soulja Boy thing?
TSS: People are going to be drinking Jerk Juice? Is this what I’m hearing?
Ben J: (Laughs!!!) I swear to you bro!
TSS: On the latest single with Ray J, ya’ll brag how no girl can tie you down but surely there’s one celebrity that can put the lockdown. Who is it?
Ben J: Man ‘o man! It’s a lot of them ya know. My celebrity crush which I probably can’t get because she’s older is Keyshia Cole.
TSS: Would you settle for Neffe instead?
Ben J: (Laughs!!!) Uh…but basically I’ll take a normal, regular girl without all the BS on the side. I got my little babe right here beside me (Laughs.)
Legacy: (Laughs) Honestly I kinda fell out of the celebrity chick loop. I ain’t even looking for one of those anymore. I just want a real regular girl. Not one who wants me for what I’m doing.
TSS: Yeah both of you are definitely too young to get tied down.
Ben J: You feel me? That’s why that single is out! But we gonna throw another jerk track out there in a minute.
TSS: As you guys plan on making rap a career, are you still going to be the New Boyz in ten years?
Ben J: Yeah, we will because the name is going to be branded. You’re going to say the name so much in ten years, it can’t change. Just think about: when Run-DMC first came out, everybody was asking what did it mean but now it just stuck. Someway, somehow we’re going to get branded.
Legacy: When you brand yourself it really don’t matter what you call yourself. We’ll be big enough to where it will stick. We’re the young kings of Hip-Hop right now.
The New Boyz’ debut album Skinny Jeanz & A Mic will be available on September 15th, 2009 courtesy of Warner Bros./Asylum Records. Below is the video/download for the 2nd single featuring Ray J. “Tie Me Down.” For more information you can follow them individually on Twitter at http://twitter.com/THALEGACY & http://twitter.com/benJnewboyz or visit their official site www.thenewboyz.com
Download — New Boyz Feat. Ray J – “Tie Me Down”
Previously Posted — New Boyz – “You’re A Jerk” Video