2009 was the beginning of a new wave within Hip-hop. Of course, you had the industry leaders at the time Eminem, 50 Cent, and Jay-Z’s album releases that sculpted the foundation for many of the greats that we know today but it was also the introduction of a new subculture that we still see traces of within the genre. If you were a kid growing up around this time you were pretty familiar with who the New Boyz were and if you didn’t know, you knew their song because it was blasted all over the radio. “You’re A Jerk” was bumping through everyone’s Ipods walking down the hallway on the way to the lunch room and everyone was OBSESSED with the new skinny jean trend. (Okay, maybe that was just me) Regardless, this was definitely a notable moment within hip hop because many components from the group’s style are still seen today.
With multiple hit singles like “You’re a jerk”,”Tie me down (feat. Ray-J)”, and “Better With The Lights Off” (featuring Chris Brown) the New Boyz had the full attention of the teen market. Their style of music was especially unique at the time because 10-15 year prior, hip-hop style was all about the streets and wearing 3XL tall tees paired with jeans 3 times your size. New Boyz made it seem cool to be black and dress like a skate boarder while rapping about chicks and school life. Additionally, they introduced a huge west coast style of dancing called “jerking” that had the world tuned into their computer screens mimicking California originated style.
So what exactly happened to the New Boyz and how did they go from having two platinum records to completely vanishing from the industry?
Well, according to Ben J, there were multiple factors that led to the splitting of the Duo. In an interview with Vlad Tv, Ben J went into detail about a fight that he and Legacy got into at the Indianapolis airport over a bag check fee that neither of them wanted to pay. The fight ended pretty badly with Legacy having a black eye and severely swollen face and Ben J being arrested. Although this seems very petty, Ben J goes on to say that he believes that Tinashe, Legacy’s girlfriend at the time, didn’t like him and felt that Legacy would be better off as a solo act. He also talks about his own dealings with Keke Palmer and how he regrets not taking their relationship seriously and going public.
The full interview is pretty intense. Ben J talks about growing up in an abandoned building as a child to recent hardships that he’s been through more after the falling out of the group.
Ben J and Legacy are both making music as solo acts currently but neither have seen a fraction of the success that they had together. Perhaps if they had stayed together they could have expanded their sound and fan base to reach even greater heights of stardom. They definitely have inspired many artists who have come after them to be themselves and flaunt their individuality so who knows what else they could’ve come up with had they continued in that direction.
In case your interested in reminiscing on 2009 or just forgot about the impact that the New Boyz had, here’s a few videos of their hit singles.