MUSIC RECORDING ARTIST "BENJAMIN HEY!" STOPS BY AND TALKS ABOUT HIS NEW SINGLES 'Ra-ta-tat tat' AND 'No Samples'
Love is the message in Benjamin Hey!’s new singles “Ra-ta-tat-tat” and “No Samples”
By John Hacker
NEW YORK — Music has been saving Benjamin Hey!’s life ever since he took a personal pledge on April 15, 2017 to write a new song every day.
Now Hey!, also known as “The Captain,” is hoping his new singles “Ra-ta-tat-tat,” and “No Samples,” can reach out with love to help others and save more lives in the process.
“Ra-ta-tat-tat,” is a single that cries out against gun violence, especially the violence that is killing inner-city young people.
“No Samples,” is a love song that encourages people not to accept second best when it comes to the loves in their lives.
Both songs were released under the John Beyer Music label owned by Hey!’s friend and frequent collaborator, John Beyer.
“With John and I, our goal is to not only have a hit song and hit record, but we want to bring a message to the music,” Hey! said. “We want to really connect to people who love the art of storytelling and listening to a song and being like, wow, not only is it an amazing vocal but there’s an important message that I really connect to that hopefully can move me and change my life.” “Ra-Ta-Tat-Tat,” is an anthem, released in May, seeking to promote peace on the streets of America’s cities, asking people to “Pull off the covers, of hate towards each other. We gotta start using our brains.”
Hey! said the song was originally Beyer’s idea and he was reluctant to even tackle the topic.
“It just pains me to se all these young kids, particularly in the inner-city, killing each other and the gangs and the gun violence,” Beyer said. “It’s not getting better, in fact it seems to be getting worse and I witness it from afar, I saw a glimpse of it when I was growing up myself in Queens and it pains me to watch it.
“I mentioned to Ben that I wanted to write a song about it and he said no, that as the subject matter hit too close to home for him.”
Growing up in the projects in Brooklyn, Hey! saw his fair share of gun violence.
“I could walk out of my first floor apartment, exit my building and then could run back in because someone just pulled out a gun,” Hey! said. “It could be a robbery between fellow drug dealers, it could be an incident with police versus drug dealers. Honestly it was usually around the element of drugs.”
A few months passed and Beyer brought the idea up again. This time Hey! was ready to take the plunge.
The two spent more than an hour crafting the right message.
“With “Ra-ta-tat-tat” it was very important to not just point out the problem but we wanted to offer what we thought was a solution,” Hey! said. “And the solution, according to our opinion is more guidance, more love, more support, more understanding, more reaching back into the community and not just being focused on the finances and the materialism. It really is about guidance, it’s about leadership, it's about love.”
The two turned to video director Doobie Duke Sims to work on the video.
“What happened was we sat at my kitchen island for about 45 minutes to an hour and banged out about 90 percent of the final product right then and there,” Beyer said. “I’d come up with the lyrics and Ben puts them together masterfully with the idea of the lyrics and he makes them rhyme and he mentions the cities in there so people identify with the song and hopefully it sends out a positive message.
“In the song you hear the gun shell dropping and we listened to about 1,000 different gun shells dropping to get the right sound.”
“No Samples,” produced by the hit producer Young Cutta, was released in the last week of September and is a love song of a different feel and vibe.
Hey! said he wrote this song during a period in 2021 when he was isolated and recovering from the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“At the time of being stricken with COVID and being by myself I just felt so lonely and being by myself,” he said. “I was like, damn, I wish I had somebody here, I wish I had somebody loving me or comforting me. While I want that, I don't want to settle for it. That's how this song came about.”
The video for “No Samples” was taped in the Hudson Yards Mall, a new retail and residential development in New York City.
“I said to myself, if you shoot in the city, I want to shoot in a location that’s still new that you won’t see in a lot of music videos,” Hey! said. “It’s only about a year or two years old. We lucked out because when we went in, it was really desolate at the time. So it looks like I shut the whole mall down. Doobie shot that video too.”
Hey! said the message in both songs is based on love — love and caring to address a terrible problem for “Ra-Ta-Tat-Tat” and not settling for just any kind of love in “No Samples.”
“In love you have to hold out for something special and amazing,” Hey! said. “I think at the end of the day, the ultimate form of love is something that feels solid and consistent. Get the steak and not a happy meal.”
Keep up with Hey! on all social media and streaming platforms:
For “Ra-Ta-Tat-Tat” specifically:https://youtu.be/DNCjeyuHjtE
For “No Samples” specifically:https://youtu.be/SP6otWd17Ek