BNYX isn’t interested in a type-beat producing career

It’s a little bit past lunchtime on a Friday afternoon, but BNYX (pronounced Benny X) is still firing on all cylinders. He’d just left a studio session with athlete-turned-rapper Showjoe to return home where his wife is listening to our conversation through a Ring camera. “She’s being weird…” he says, eyebrow almost audibly raised and in a manner that suggests he is, in fact, the weird one. While I’m fumbling around with the recorder, he starts rapping under his breath: “Takin’ the yanky, more janky, more banky / I run up this bitch like a big ol’ tanky.” For a brief moment, he sounds like he’s been possessed.

The song in question is Yeat’s “Can’t Stop It,” a BNYX-produced song from his new project Lyfe that has the hulking guitars and smoldering feel of a wrestler’s theme. Yeat’s known for his love of alien-sounding synths and mutated vocals, so it’s strange to hear him rapping over something that felt, for once, describable by earthly genres. “I literally posted a TikTok about that the other day,” the 27-year-old producer says, referencing a clip he made where he dubbed the song over a scene from The Batman.

It’s not the first time a little bit of net-savviness has helped him out. While working at AT&T in 2017 after being forced to drop out of college due to tuition increases, BNYX saw that Travis Scott dropped a remix of Rae Sremmurd’s “Swang,” and rushed to rework it himself. “I worked at a slow store and I had a cool manager, so I could just make beats on the floor,” he recalls. Using a dummy Twitter account, he’d reply to people who posted about the song with a link to his own remix, estimating he’d sent out about 200 tweets, and right after, he went to sleep. The next morning, his remix had over 100k plays, although BNYX wasn’t quite sure how to capitalize on the moment, so he continued his sales floor cook-ups until he felt the desire for more.

After two years, he’d quit his job at AT&T and connected with a local artist named Miles Chancellor. From there, he’d build relationships with others before landing his first big placement in 2018 as a co-producer on Ty Dolla $ign’s “South Beach.” Fast forward another few months and BNYX ended up moving to Los Angeles, where he’d be sleeping in studios and on busted air mattresses trying everything he could to make something shake.

Born in Delaware to Haitian immigrants and raised in Philadelphia and nearby suburb Upper Darby, BNYX (real name: Benjamin Saint Fort) spent his childhood playing in church alongside his brothers and his father, who first came to the United States while touring with a Haitian gospel band in the late ’70s. From ages 7 to 16, he attended weekly piano lessons and would start helping his late father with piano arrangements in their home’s small studio as he improved. BNYX’s parents were strict about the radio growing up — only allowing them to listen to adult contemporary stations that played The Cranberries and Matchbox Twenty, gospel music, or whatever his dad was working on at the time — delaying his introduction to rap. During high school, BNYX’s older brother Felix encouraged him to get into producing rap after hearing some of the metal and pop tracks he’d been working on; at the time, he had a cheap MP3 player that only carried a few songs. Soon, his rock and metal favorites were joined by 2 Chainz’s “Birthday Song” and Chief Keef’s “Love Sosa.”

Today, he’s back at home in Philadelphia and in his beats, you can hear BNYX doing a little bit of everything. With Zack Fox, he’s tapping into Memphis’ nocturnal bounce. With New Jersey singer Fousheé (who he met through Fox), he’s making plucky screamo-tinged tracks. And with Yeat, he’s constantly finding ways to spice up a formula that can sometimes get stale. In a way, it feels like he’s trying to actively work against type beat-ifying himself.

“I watch all the blogs that talk about Yeat and I’m like, ‘What do they like, what don’t they like?,” he says. “And it’s usually, ‘he’s doing the same thing over and over again.’ So every beat that I sent [for Lyfë], I made sure it didn’t sound like a beat that he would hop on. I do not go for doing the same thing over again. I get bored very quickly.” A week after Lyfe‘s release, I talked to BNYX about sneaking into his dad’s studio, lurking in producer Discords, and working with Yeat.

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