Ben Jayne has an undeniable sound and an unforgettable face — both of which are about to be everywhere. He’s responsible for producing “New Freezer” by Rich The Kid which became one of the biggest hits of the year. Jayne is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after talents in the game.
A Rhode Island native, Ben was drawn to the arts from a young age. His mother, who was a single parent and a school art teacher, passed on that love to her son, who gravitated towards drawing in elementary school.
But music was an early focus, too. “I started making beats when I was 12,” he says, adding that he began rapping when he was even younger than that. “One of my teachers put FruityLoops on my computer for my 12th birthday and that’s how it all started. I was always interested in making melodies.”
He taught himself how to use the beat-making program and steadily honed his skills through nights of practice. Soon, others took notice and gravitated towards him. “At 13, 14, all the kids would come to my house after school,” he remembers. “I had speakers and was always making music and all the kids in the neighborhood would come over and record. My crib was the crib for that. I had a little fake studio and I was recording and making beats.”
Around that same time, he met Harlem native Charles Hamilton – then a buzzing rapper – at a local open mic. After bonding over music, they kept in touch. A few years later, Hamilton helped Ben connect with other creatives in Harlem. After seeing “Believe in You” – a video that Ben edited for a song he raps on and made the beat for – one of them invited him to come to New York to continue pursuing music. In 2012, at the age of 18, Ben moved to Harlem.
It was exactly the kind of transition he needed.
“It was all about music when I moved,” he says. “I didn’t have any money or job when I graduated high school. I didn’t go to college. I was staying at my mom’s house. I couldn’t bring girls over. I couldn’t make music all night. There were no good studios to go to. I wanted to meet new people and to get the ball rolling. It was better living in New York. I could make music all night.”
Ben’s strong work ethic and leap of faith coupled together to create more opportunities. A$AP Ferg grew up just a few blocks from where Ben was living and they got to know each other through mutual friends. He briefly hit the road with Ferg to work as his videographer, but was quickly reminded that making music was his true passion.
That realization didn’t diminish Ferg’s belief in him, though. Instead, Ferg continued to take him under his wing and as Ben locked in as a producer, the two continued to work together, including Ben modeling for Ferg’s 2017 Fall collection with AGOLDIE. Then, one night in 2017, all that hard work really began to pay off.
“Ferg rented Quad Studios and had different artists pull up, including Rich The Kid,” Ben recalls about the studio session that helped change his life. “I played Rich the beat for ‘New Freezer,’ and he laid it down in four minutes. The next day, Ferg and MadeinTYO hopped on the track. Once Rich was signed to Interscope, they removed those features and added Kendrick Lamar’s verse. I initially didn’t think Kendrick was gonna get on it, though. Rich told me that Kendrick wanted to get on it, but I didn’t know he was officially on it until just before it came out, when they sent me the paperwork and his name was on it.”
The single, which dropped in September 2017, has since been certified platinum, hit No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100, amassed over 75 million views on YouTube and has become an indisputable smash and favorite among fans.
The song also began to give Ben recognition that’s been years in the making, serving as an early introduction for listeners to someone who they’re about to hear from a lot more.
He recently relocated from Harlem to Los Angeles and signed with Island Records. The label invested in him not just as an artist, but an innovator, too: In addition to releasing his own music and continuing to produce, he’s now overseeing his own imprint, Jayne Arts, where he’s signed one artist, RokStar Walt, with more to come. Now, they’ve got a compilation on the way.
The production isn’t slowing down, either. Ben has records with Machine Gun Kelly, Dave East, PnB Rock, Don Q, Trill Sammy and more in the stash. Plus, he’ll be stepping into his own on the mic. His influences, he says, range from Kanye West and Kid Cudi to Big L and Mos Def. But what he creates is all his own.
“Before anything, I always had my own sound,” he says.
It’s a sound that’s poised to take the game by storm.