Last year, The New Boyz taught the world how to jerk. What was once a minor Southern California trend went international when Ben J and Legacy created “You’re A Jerk,” the song that did for jerkin’ what Chubby Checker did for the “Twist.” From the Fox Hills Mall to Paris, France, teenagers in skinny jeans and tropically-colored t-shirts began filming videos of themselves jerkin’: a dance craze that combined the best of break-dancing, krumping, and the Running Man.
The New Boyz were the face of the movement, next-generation avatars of style, skills and swag. Boasting an unforgettable video that racked up over 60,000,000 views on YouTube and other video-on-demand platforms, the pair were the focal point of articles in the LA Times, LA Weekly, The New York Times and Vogue Japan. The group also became one of the biggest selling hip-hop groups ever at the popular retail chain, Hot Topic.
But it’s 2010, and rather than rest on their laurels, Ben J and Legacy are back with their sophomore album, September’s, Too Cool To Care. Released on Shotty/Asylum/Warner Bros. Records, the new album reflects the group’s continued evolution, as they harness different genres (electro, alternative rock, R&B) and blend them with their hip-hop roots and trademark wit and confidence. As they said from the start: New Boyz do new things.
“Break My Bank,” combines the best of both worlds: with fluid raps layered atop island crooner and labelmate Iyaz’s instantly memorable hook. The result is a summer jam that conjures palm trees, white sand beaches, fluorescent waters and pink drinks with umbrellas in them. An instant smash, in just two weeks the single was added to 50 radio station playlists and closed in on pace to be Asylum’s fastest record to #1 on any airplay chart.
Their first album made them voices of their generation, but their second explains exactly who the New Boyz are. They’re children of the iPod age, able to switch styles as easily as they switch their skinny jeans. The notions of traditional hip-hop mean nothing to them. They’re dedicated to pushing past genre and aesthetic boundaries. They’re perennially on the quest for the new. And if you don’t like it, that’s all good—they’re Too Cool To Care.
Last week Aries of UrbanBridgez.com caught up with the New Boyz and talked to them about their new release ‘Too Cool Too Care, being tough kids, award nominations, haters of skinny jeans, movies and alot more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Too Care To Care, explain the title?
New Boyz (Legacy): Because with the first album we got a lot of criticism because we had the skinny jeans and talked about the whole jerkin thing. But at the same time we had alot of jerkin fans also. And with this new album we kind of went out the box with it, you know what I’m sayin. We just have some crazy tracks and alot of tracks that will spark alot of crazy reactions, positive and negative. And for the negative ones, which I’m sure we’re going to get alot of, that’s where the title comes in, we’re too cool to care! We’re gonna do what we do regardless!
New Boyz (Ben J): Exactly!
UrbanBridgez.com: What was the best and the hardest thing about putting this album together?
New Boyz (Ben J): The best part, I mean the only part is just being in the studio. And that’s the fun part, you know. Just being in the studio and playing back all the tracks you make. Like I listen to our tracks like you would listen to our tracks, that’s how I listen to them. And be like this track is on, when the fans hear it they’re gonna love it! So that’s the best part to me honestly and when we finally put the music out for the fans to hear.
New Boyz (Legacy): For me the hardest part is the inconvenience of traveling in & out to the studios.
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell me about the track “Tough Kids”
New Boyz (Legacy): Shout out to DJ Khalil, he did that track. That track is basically like we had ‘Cricketz’ on the first album, it’s like that goin hard track. And we’re going to catch alot of people off guard with this one because it has a crazy rock feel to it. And it’s just letting everybody know, we’re too cool to care and we’re gonna do what we do!
New Boyz (Ben J): Just letting everybody know that we ain’t no punks, because New Boyz came out with ‘Skinny Jeans and a Mic’ and rock skinny jeans and some was talking sh*t. But we’re tough kids homie, it’s all good! (all laugh)
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some of the people who helped you put this project together?
New Boyz (Ben J): We got a track with Sean Kingston, we got one with Shanell from Young Money, we got one with Teairra Mari.
New Boyz (Legacy): Ray J, that’s the homie.
New Boyz (Ben J): We just did a track with Snoop Dogg the other day.
UrbanBridgez.com: Explain the explicit warning sticker for the parents that might be worried about the new albums lyrics?
New Boyz (Ben J): Honestly, it’s not us being explicit. It’s just us being real and more so talking about the things we do. Like we may say sh*t & ass and talk about girls and having sex or whatever. But it’s just us being real we’re not getting into all the nitty gritty yet because we know we still have younger fans out there. We’re saying simple things that are fans can relate to. But it’s us, we’re just speaking from the heart!
New Boyz (Legacy): You know it’s just the typical 18 year old lifestyle. Like some get it confused and think because we’re 18 we’re suppose to just record bubble gum music. It’s like nah, we’re gonna tell it how it is and what we can relate to.
New Boyz (Ben J): We know about all of that stuff, we know about drugs, we know about sex, we know about hustling and grinding. It’s not like we were born yesterday you know, we’re living life like everybody else!
UrbanBridgez.com: When can fans expect to see the video for “Break My Bank?” [watch below]
New Boyz (Legacy): In the next few days!
UrbanBridgez.com: Congrads on the Teen Choice Award nod, how does it feel to be recognized after just releasing one album so far?
New Boyz (Ben J): Oh it felt good man! Because once you get nominated, you made it off top. That’s not how I was thinking at first, I was just thinking about winning (laughs). But people was in our ear saying you don’t usually get nominated like that as a new and up-coming artist, so we’re humble and appreciate the nomination.
New Boyz (Legacy): Yeah definitely!
New Boyz (Ben J): This is crazy, just keep praying to God and alot more is going to happen for us. The year before that we were performing on the pre-show & we was doing an interview on the red carpet and they was like next year you guys most likely are going to be nominated and we were, so next year, we’re probably gonna win!
UrbanBridgez.com: No doubt, there you go! With all the hate on the skinny jean movement, what do you think it is about skinny jeans that makes some guys criticize guys who wear them?
New Boyz (Legacy): Because they’re skinny jeans (all laugh), it is what it is. I think some are just caught off guard with them alot of people look at it like what is this, I grew up on this & this, so what is that. And I completely understand!
New Boyz (Ben J): I completely understand also!
New Boyz (Legacy): But it’s not like we came in the game like I got on skinny jeans and I want you and your kids to start wearing them. It wasn’t even like that, we was like this is what we wear, it you don’t like it so be it.
New Boyz (Ben J): Yeah we wanted to come in the game different, we didn’t wanna be looked at as the same people, making the same music and what not as everybody else. We didn’t wanna be that, so we wore skinny jeans. And honestly in California that’s what people are wearing, we thought that was normal. Until our music video got on 106 & Park and the rest of the world was like, what the hell is this? This is what we do in Cali, it started with the teenagers just started doing it and we was apart of it. You know, just apart of the lifestyle.
UrbanBridgez.com: What’s next for you guys outside of music?
New Boyz (Ben J): Well we just did a movie together called ‘Where The Party At’ with Mario Van Peebles. We just did that movie and I did one before. We’re just trying to do everything, you know. Movies, clothing, Legacy has a label, I have a production company. We’re just trying to be business men at the end of the day. Longevity is the key!
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
New Boyz (Ben J): Thank you for always being there for us, and in the future if they stick with us we’re gonna keep bringing more music, hot music! Follow us on Twitter New Boyz and mine is Twitter.com/ImBenJBro
New Boyz (Legacy): Mine is Twitter.com/ThaLegacy