Black Soprano Family is more than a group moniker. Benny the Butcher, Rick Hyde, and Heem have looked after each other like brothers, especially when traveling on the road where they’ve learned the proper ways to get around without running into trouble.
“You have to be careful about inviting these h**s back to your room. Also, be careful about these promoters. They might be trying to swindle you. There’s a whole bunch of s**t to look out for besides watching out for violence,” Benny the Butcher told REVOLT.
In this installment of “Tour Tales,” the BSF members reveal their favorite moments with the late DJ Shay, how fans have shocked them on the road, and why live shows still matter in a TikTok world.
When was the first time you all performed together?
Benny the Butcher: The first time we all performed together was on “The Butcher Coming Tour,” right?
Heem: Honestly, our first time performing with [Benny] might’ve been in Buffalo at Milkie’s or something.
Benny: In 2018, we all went on my first solo tour. These guys were my tour support. I was learning from going on tour with Griselda, and then we went on our own tour.
There are so many different personalities on stage when you all perform. How did you develop that chemistry in 2018 that helped in your future performances?
Benny: The first thing you notice is the songs people react to. I know which Rick Hyde songs people gonna react to more. Same thing for Heem. And they know the same thing for me. We know what record someone might need help on.
Rick Hyde: We’ve been together for years, so it’s second nature. I know what song Heem needs help on. I know what song Benny needs me for. He gonna give me that look right before the song comes on.
How important are live shows to you as artists in a music industry practically run by TikTok?
Hyde: You saw Jadakiss on Verzuz — it makes a difference. That’s what separates us from the pack. We do live shows over no vocals. We’re getting out every word and annunciation. It’s a different type of connection with the fans. It’s more emotional and sentimental.
Benny: That’s real s**t Rick said. Rapping over just the record and no vocals, people come to see that. I didn’t realize it until I was doing it for two or three years. It’s more emotion in that. You could really express the way you’re feeling.
What are the rules you’ve learned you need to have on tour?
Benny: Since we’re out here on the road, we have to watch each other’s backs. I might be playing security.
Heem: We have to move as a pack.
Hyde: Don’t leave nobody back (laughs).
What’s happened to inspire a rule like having each other’s backs?
Benny: You tell me (laughs). You have social media.
Heem: S**t happens.
Benny: Not only with s**t like that, but also with these h**s. You have to be careful about inviting these h**s back to your room. Also, be careful about these promoters. They might be trying to swindle you. There’s a whole bunch of s**t to look out for besides watching out for violence. Being on the road is like we’re playing chess at the highest level, so we’re always on point.
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I saw you all perform in DJ Shay jerseys on the last tour. Where did the idea come from?
Benny: Man, I felt like it would just put us in the mindset of a playoff game. That’s just how I felt. It was all of us performing together. It felt like a playoff game to me. So, I just wanted to bring that feel to the atmosphere. Everybody had a competitive spirit.
Heem: It felt like a game.
Are there any cyphers going on backstage at these tours?
Hyde: We always be flirting around with the lyrics. Everybody would start rapping out of nowhere.
Heem: We make sure to keep the blades sharp. We might be in the sprinter throwing four bars around each.
What’s your favorite BSF tour memory?
Benny: Just being on tour with BSF. Before we were doing this, we were all in the studio planning this.
Heem: We were performing, hoping someone would be at the show. Now, people are around the corner at our tours. I ain’t gonna lie, Rick Hyde and I drove from Buffalo to the West Coast to meet up with Butch for “The Butcher on Steroids Tour” (in 2018).
Hyde: We drove from Buffalo to Salt Lake City, Utah. That was about 33 ½ hours. We had to get there, though.
Heem: We almost had a big moose or some s**t (laughs).
Where are some of your favorite places to perform?
Benny: New York City.
Hyde: It’s between Chicago and Philly for me.
Heem: Portland and Seattle were crazy too, though. I was just looking at footage from Portland and Seattle too.
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What are the songs that surprised you that people liked?
Hyde: The fans love when Benny and I do “Survivor’s Remorse.” We get the ultimate reaction when we do “It’s Over.” We get a crazy reaction when we do “Da Mob.” Whenever Heem says, “LA to Boston,” they go crazy.
What are some fan reactions you’ve seen on tour that stick out to you?
Benny: Fans be waiting in line for hours and still be front row when we come on stage. Some people bring their scales. Some people pay attention to certain things I say. Fans come and tell me stories. The fans do get extreme. A lot happens. But I love fans, man. A few ladies have asked to come and get their t**ties signed. I saw this one chick push her boyfriend back saying, “No, I’m getting a picture, not you.”
Hyde: Remember that one show where dude was pissed his girl kept trying to leave with us? I think it was in Phoenix.
The project you all put out is called Long Live DJ Shay. Shay was instrumental in your careers, and he passed in August 2020. What are your favorite live show memories with him?
Heem: I have to say it was my first time going to Chicago and performing. Shay was telling me, “Yo, tonight you’re going to go on the stage.” I kept looking at him. I was nervous. When the moment came, Shay was like, “You ready?” Benny, Conway, and I were in the hallway. Shay went out there. When I went out there, I forgot all of the words when I saw all of the people. But, I knew if I looked back at Shay and didn’t know the words, it was going to be trouble. Shay was behind the turntables, but it was like I felt him tap me on my shoulder. I got it together after that. That opened me up to bring my confidence to this s**t.
Hyde: My favorite performance with Shay was at Sony Hall. Everybody was there — Preemo, Busta Rhymes, Jim Jones, Joe Budden, Mal, Rory, everyone. I got to go right before the homies. So Shay was up there, but Shay was scratching and going crazy. That was one of the best performances Shay and I ever did, and I’ve been with Shay my whole life.
How would you describe a BSF show for someone who hasn’t been to one?
Heem: It’s going to feel like hip hop. It’s going to feel like the culture. It’s going to feel like the 90s. There are going to be gangsters in the building.
Hyde: It’s going to feel like New Jack City.
Heem: You’re going to hear a lot of bars.
Hyde: And it’s always going to be electric at the shows because we got that chip on our shoulder, man. A lot of people be doubting us. So the energy going to be there every single time we perform because we owe that much to the people for helping get us to where we are right now on this platform, on this stage. So, I promise I’m going to always bring that energy because that’s what the people want to see and that’s what they pay for. Artists have to stop going out there and giving these people these bulls**t shows for their money, man. People paying their hard-earned dollars, man. Go out there and perform for the crowd. Interact with the people. Take your chains off if you don’t want to get ’em taken. Go in that crowd and mess with them people, man. That’s what they’re here for.