Raymond Scott (born October 24, 1965 ), also known by his stage name Benzino, is an American rapper, producer, and co-owner of The Source magazine.

Later, as part of the rap group Almighty RSO with DJ Jeff 2X, Tony Rhome, and Antonio 2G, Benzino released a single “One In Tha Chamba” on Tommy Boy records and later signed with Rap A Lot records. His second crew, Made Men released the critically acclaimed Classic Limited Edition on Restless records in 1999.

The Almighty RSO/Made Men

Doomsday marked the end of the Almighty RSO, after which point Benzino formed the group Made Men (himself, Antonio Twice Thou, and Mr. Gzus) and the production team Hangmen 3 (himself, Jeff Two Times, and Johnny Bananas, the team had technically made their debut on Doomsday). Made Men debuted in 1998 on Restless Records with the single "Is It You? (Déjà Vu)," featuring Master P, and they also were featured on DJ Clue?'s The Professional (1998) shortly thereafter, with "Made Men." The full-length album Classic Limited Edition (1999) followed, along with a second single, "Just You and I." Whereas the Almighty RSO had been a group effort, Made Men was clearly a Benzino-helmed project: he was credited as executive producer, co-produced many of the tracks with Hangmen 3, and opened the album with "Benzino's Thoughts (Interlude)." Classic Limited Edition was met with critical praise from some corners, most notably The Source, which awarded the album four and a half (out of five) "mics" -- a near-perfect rating. A Hangmen 3 album, No Skits, Vol. 1 (2000), was the next Benzino project unveiled, this one on Surrender Records; featuring a variety of Boston rappers from the Made Men and Wiseguys collectives, the album was highlighted by the song "Holla Back (Holla Boston)." As part of Hangmen 3, Benzino also earned credits on albums by Prodigy (producing the song "What U Rep" from H.N.I.C., 2000), Nas ("Stillmatic [The Intro]," Stillmatic, 2001), Cormega ("Verbal Graffiti," The True Meaning, 2002), and Raekwon ("Planet of the Apes," The Lex Diamond Story, 2003).

Solo career

In 2001, Benzino was added to The Source's masthead as a co-owner and, signed to Motown, made his solo debut with The Benzino Project. The album spawned a pair of singles, "Boottee" and "Bang ta This," and featured a long list of high-profile guests, among them P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Bobby Brown, Pink, and Teddy Riley. The Source, of course, was supportive, though even the magazine's self-promotion couldn't compel consumers to purchase The Benzino Project, which sold only 75,000 copies total. Motown dropped Benzino months after the album's release. An article published in the December 2001 issue of GQ by Maximillian Potter may have had something to do with Motown's decision. In the article, titled "Getting to the Source," Potter detailed the magazine's lack of editorial integrity, drawing from accounts of former Source executives such as former music editor Reginald Dennis and co-founder John Shecter. In particular, Potter detailed Mays' longtime relationship with Benzino, including brushes with the law. The article presented an unfavorable view of both The Source and Benzino, thereby giving Motown all the more incentive beyond unsatisfactory sales to drop the suspect rapper (and request that the unrecouped balance of $773,000 be compensated with advertising space in the magazine). The master tapes to The Benzino Project went to Surrender Records, which re-released the album as The Benzino Remix Project in 2002. Though tagged as a "remix" album, it differed only slightly from the original Motown release: most notably, different versions of "Bang ta Dis," "Figadoh," and "Boottee" that featured different guests but the same beats.

In 2007 Benzino attempted to reestablish his rap career with the release of The Antidote. The CD was released independently and featured the 1st 48, his new group. Sales have been lackluster with under 75,000 copies sold. Benzino also made his return to media, establishing the tabloid Hip Hop Weekly with Mays.


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