Raymond “Benzino” Scott has quickly become one of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta’s favorite new cast member with his budding relationship with singer Karlie Redd and those heart-to-heart advice sessions with Stevie J. But years before reality TV, Benzino cemented his reputation in hip-hop as a controversial rapper and media executive.
Benzino is most noted for being the self-proclaimed “co-founder and visionary” of The Source magazine and running the publication from 1994 to 2005. His tenure was checkered with controversies and many believe he afforded his own rap group, Made Men, preferential treatment in regards to coverage on several occasions. In 1999, his group’s Classic Limited Edition received a near-perfect 4.5 out of 5 rating in the magazine from a reviewer who was later revealed to be fictitious.
Benzino’s skirmishes with fellow rapper Eminem also took center stage for much of his career. In 2002, he incited shots against Em on “Pull Your Skirt Up” and claimed that Eminem’s race enabled him certain luxuries in hip-hop that were unfair.
Benzino shared with MTV, “I had a problem with ‘the machine,’ with the double standard in hip-hop,” he said. “Certain media outlets take to him and look at him as the savior in hip-hop and the #1 in hip-hop and [do] not recognize the guys out here that created hip hop. … Eminem is just the hood ornament for the machine. … You think I could grab my crotch and put my ass in people’s faces the way he does? No way. But as long as the color of his skin and his eyes fits what America wants, … it’s all right.”
Eminem retaliated with his own “I Don’t Wanna” and “Nail in the Coffin.” Benzino responded by publishing old inflammatory Eminem lyrics in which Marshall used racial slurs. Eminem sued The Source for defamation and eventually, Benzino left his Source post in 2005. That same year, the magnet for controversy was slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit by former staffers including editor-in-chief Kim Osario that would ultimately cost him millions. Later, he went on to found news and gossip magazine Hip Hop Weekly.