It's All About the Benjamins

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"It's All About the Benjamins"
Single by Puff Daddy featuring Lil' Kim, The LOX and The Notorious B.I.G.
from the album No Way Out
Released June 30, 1997
Format CD single, digital download,
cassette single
Recorded 1996
Genre East coast rap, hip hop, rapcore
Length 4:37
Label Bad Boy Records
Writer(s) Sean Combs, Stephen Jacobs, Jason Phillips, Danny Styles, Christopher Wallace, Kimberly Jones, Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie
Producer(s) Deric "D-Dot" Angelettie for The Hitmen
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Puff Daddy singles chronology
"I'll Be Missing You"
(1997)
"It's All About the Benjamins"
(1997)
"Been Around the World"
(1997)

"It's All About the Benjamins" is the fourth single released from the Puff Daddy album No Way Out. The song is about living one's lifestyle as if one were rich, and the importance of being seen to have money. "Benjamins" are slang for $100 bills (USD), a reference to Benjamin Franklin's image on the bills. The song featured uncredited vocal arrangement by Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott,[1] and featured a signature guitar hook played by Marc Solomon.

History[edit]

The song debuted in 1996 on DJ Clue's Holiday Holdup mixtape. This version of the song only featured Puff Daddy and the rap act The LOX (excluding Styles P). The song was later added to Puffy's debut album, No Way Out, in a remix, "It's All About the Benjamins (Remix)", which added two new verses by Lil' Kim and Notorious B.I.G. Lil' Kim also provided the song with a chorus which the original version lacked. This version of the song also omitted the word "Hebrews" out of Jadakiss' verse; however, the word was left in on the first pressing. Subsequent pressings removed the word. Additionally, when it was released on the Bad Boy's Greatest Hits Vol. I album, it retained the word. This single made it to #1 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart and its video won a Viewer's Choice award at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards show. Due to the rarity of the obscure mixtape version, the remix featured on No Way Out is often considered the song's definitive version to avoid confusion.

The song samples two pieces of music. The first sample heard up to the end of Lil' Kim's verse is taken from the song "I Did It for Love" performed by the Love Unlimited written by Linda Laurie. The verse performed by Notorious B.I.G. contains a sample from The Jackson 5 song "It's Great to Be Here." This latter sample is exclusive to the No Way Out remix. After the final verse, the song reverts to the first sample and ends shortly after.

In 2008, it was ranked number 32 on VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of Hip Hop.

Puffy also released a rock version of the song, "It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix)". This collaboration, also known as "Shot-Caller Rock Remix" and "Rock Remix I", featured Tommy Stinson, Fuzzbubble, Rob Zombie and Dave Grohl on drums. This remix added guitar riffs and live drums, as well as a more "in your face" approach to the song's chorus. This version had its own music video, directed by Spike Jonze, which was nominated for Best Video of the Year on MTV Video Music Awards in 1998.

In 1999, Puffy performed this remix with a live band at Giants Stadium for the NetAid benefit concert. This performance featured Slash on guitar as well as Lil' Cease and Lil' Kim on vocals.

There is also a slightly different alternative to this remix called, "It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix II)." This lesser known version adds Size 14 to the song's already long collaboration line-up.

Both rock remixes of the song were released as edited versions; the explicit versions were never released or created.

In popular culture[edit]

In 1999, "Weird Al" Yankovic performed a parody of the rock remix of "It's All About the Benjamins". His version, "It's All About the Pentiums", features himself boasting about the superiority of his computer hardware. Yankovic later referenced the song again in his song "Whatever You Like" with the line, "It's all about the Washingtons", referencing $1 bills.

In 1999 the satirical newspaper The Onion published a "point/counterpoint", with "Mack Master Dwayne", described as a "playa", arguing that "It's All About The Benjamins"; while "Professor E. Worthington Jackson", in his response titled "Actually, The Benjamins Are Only A Small Part Of A Larger Set of Concerns", states, "Cash monetary holdings such as Grants and Benjamins are, quite simply, not a good way to safeguard your profit potential in the long run."[2]

Kanye West referenced the track in the song "Breathe In Breathe Out" on his 2004 debut album The College Dropout with the lyrics "and it's still about the Benjamins".

The 2005 Saturday Night Live "digital short" rap music video "Lazy Sunday", contained the lyrics "it's all about the Hamiltons, baby", referring to $10 bills.

Taco Bell referenced the song in their 2009 commercial "It's All About the Roosevelts", referring to Franklin D. Roosevelt's image on the dime, and Taco Bell's value meals.

Diddy sampled the song in the remix to "Shot Caller" by French Montana.

The song has also been covered by the Ballas Hough Band who performed the song with Grammy Award winning multi-platinum rap superstar Lil' Kim in 2009.

The song is used by Ben Maller as an introductory theme before his first break on his radio show on Fox Sports Radio.

Formats and track listings[edit]

Been Around the World (Single)
  1. Been Around the World (Radio Edit)
  2. It's All About the Benjamins (Shot-Caller Rock Remix)
Been Around the World (Maxi-single)
  1. Been Around the World (Radio Edit)
  2. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix I)
  3. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix II)
  4. It's All About the Benjamins (Album Version)
Single (U.K. and Canada only)
  1. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix I)
  2. It's All About the Benjamins (Album Version)
  3. It's All About the Benjamins (Rock Remix II)
  4. It's All About the Benjamins (DJ Ming & FS Drum N' Base Mix)

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1997) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 18
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Rap Singles 1

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Memory Lane: Sheek recalls how Missy Elliot saved his verse on "It’s All About The Benjamins"". MissInfo.tv. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 3 April 2014. 
  2. ^ "It's All About the Benjamins" vs. "Actually, The Benjamins Are Only a Small Part of a Larger Set of Concerns", The Onion

External links[edit]