Hailing from Toronto, Ontario at the ripe age of fifteen years old, Cartoon Ben is enlisted in the next generation of Hip Hop, working on making his voice heard in an industry dominated by higher power.
RLGT UP NEXT: MEET CARTOON BEN
Chances are this may be the first time you’ve ever heard of the name Cartoon Ben – but don’t worry, because I’m about to impart on you some serious knowledge. The inspiring youngster from Toronto, Ontario conducts his creations from the influences of greats like Chance the Rapper, MF Doom, Action Bronson and Tyler the Creator – to name a few. Upon conversing with Cartoon Ben, it was quickly apparent that the kid is hungry. “I love being creative; my father was in a rock band when he was younger, so I guess you could say I grew up on music,” Ben says, explaining where his array of musical influence comes from. After realizing that the young rapper and I share a lot in common in terms of our defined taste in music, I had to dive in a little deeper. I, of course, decided to take the easy route, and asked the one question I’m positive artists get on the daily – “What is your favorite album/mixtape?” And in meer seconds, I had a response; “Acid Rap, it’s a masterpiece. That or 1999 by Joey Bada$$. Both of these were created by very young artists. I usually find myself listening to both of those projects before I record, start writing, or make a beat,” Ben says.
Cartoon Ben surely stands in the next generation of musicians and creators. I personally think it was obvious – he had the proper influence, he knows he has a voice that can be heard – all he needs to do is put in the work. Ben proceeded to introduce me to some of his work on his Soundcloud before diving into more about what he plans on bringing to the table in the near future. “I’m working on an EP,” he says, a solid base for Ben to make a name for himself in the industry. “I think it’s going to be five to eight songs, with a blend of all different sounds. I have some vintage 90s beats, while also working with some upbeat, new school stuff. I’m self-producing most of the project, but I have a couple features from some close friends and inspirations of mine. Two close friends of mine, Rony and Jeremy Naps have two separate songs on there. Miles Canady produces a track also – whom I’m sure you’re familiar with.” It’s rather obvious that Ben has a solid head on his shoulders and a clear vision of what he expects from the music industry.
Seeing more similarities between us, I had to ask a few more questions. Personally, music is a passion for me. I may not have the techniques that it takes to produce music myself, but listening to music is like looking at a piece of art – if you’re not passionate about it, why are you doing it? I took it upon myself to confirm that Ben had this knowledge. I quickly responded to Ben, asking him “why music?” His response was enough approval for me to truly establish the amount of passion he has when it comes to music. “Music is like my best friend and I don’t really f**k with a lot of people. Rony, Jeremy, Miles, Josh – they’re really like brothers to me. They understand me, and a lot of people don’t.” Ben confessed, suggesting that he shares his passion of music with those who also possess the passion.
Cartoon Ben had peaked my interest, and I wanted to know more about the fifteen year old from Toronto, a possible leader of the next generation of hip hop. If music was his best friend, I was positive he would be able to have more answers for me. During my chat with Ben, I had Blonde by Frank Ocean playing in the background. The emotional background vibes played into my next question. “What do you listen to while you’re in your feelings? When you’re feeling sad or scared?” Ben’s response was utterly surprising in my current state. “Channel Orange by Frank Ocean, 808s and Heartbreaks by Kanye West or Nevermind by Nirvana. All of those albums aid me when I’m in my feels. However, whenever I get scared, be it about not making music or about any goals I set for myself, I always listen to 10 Day.” Now, I don’t know if somebody told Ben about myself – maybe Miles informed Ben of how much of a Chance the Rapper fan I am – but damn was I ever thrilled to hear that. I’m proud to know that so many phenomenal artists can influence Ben, along with other fifteen year olds around the world (editors note: maybe all hope for this generation isn’t lost after all – phew).
At the end of the day, Cartoon Ben just wants to inspire the world. “My main goal is to make an album for those who just don’t feel like they belong. I want to inspire people who feel like they’re not accepted, I want someone to be like ‘damn, that dude Cartoon Ben inspired me to follow my dreams,’ you know?” Ben says, rejoicing at the possibility of possessing the ability to inspire others.
I left Cartoon Ben with some wise words, “don’t give up, and keep working at it. Eventually you’ll check off more and more of your goals.” Ben was quick with a confirmation. Before we parted ways, I had one last question for the up and comer; “Why Cartoon Ben? Why did you choose that to be your name?” I’m sure on the other end, Ben let out a chuckle or two before giving me his response. “There’s nothing overly special to it really. I enjoy cartoons and video games, you know – nerdy stuff like that. Cartoon Ben just sort of stood out to me.” Keeping in mind that the kid is only fifteen, I couldn’t help but agree with him. “But, it sucks that I don’t have much time for that stuff anymore. I’m far too busy trying to follow my dreams.” That was the one reply that really stood out to me – a fifteen-year-old kid from Toronto knows that if he puts the fun and games to the side and focuses on his dreams, he’ll make it. That’s pretty cool.
Check out the playlist below titled “peacelove&cartoons,” a series of beats produced by Cartoon Ben himself. If these beats are any omen of what Cartoon Ben is capable of, it won’t take long for him to grow into an artist with countless opportunities.