California is home to a lot of things: beautiful beaches, a rising $17 billion debt, the Church Scientology, just to name a few. Now, however, California is the proud home of one of the latest dance crazes: jerking. And at the forefront of this movement are 17 year-olds Ben J and Legacy, better known as the duo the New Boyz, whose single “You’re a Jerk” has been tearing up the charts. With their debut album set to drop this August 16 on Asylum/Warner Music, the New Boyz discussed what exactly is jerk music.
“I would describe jerk music as just something you feel,” said Ben J. “It’s positive, it’s got all the teenagers to all the grannies, all the mamas. Everybody’s cutting it and moving it, and everything that you would say. It’s fun. It’s like a movement.”
While their single “You’re a Jerk” provides the perfect introduction for the rest of the world to the southern Californian dance, Ben J and Legacy do not intend to make just jerk music. They hope to capture all of the aspects of their lives and trun them into music.
“Our album is pretty much just the New Boyz,” said Legacy. “[It’s] pretty much like the lifestyle and the culture of the typical California teenager put in[to] music. It’s going to surprise a lot of people, because a lot of people think we just make the jerk songs [and] dance music. We’ve only got two jerking tracks. Our album is talking about a lot of different topics… Before 'You’re A Jerk,' we were making music, like normal songs. We were like 15 songs in before 'You’re A Jerk' came out, and that was our first dance song.
Ben J added, “Before jerking came about, we always did music...We were regular artists before this whole [jerking] thing came, so we can make any other [type of music]. We’re everything… [But] since we’re labeled as jerk artists in the game, that’s how people see it. We’re supposed to come out with a whole jerking album…We have different concepts.”
Unlike many of their Californian musical counter-parts, the New Boyz’ style is more along the line of Supras and skinny jeans as opposed to Chuck Taylors and Dickies. The boys indicate that their style and their specific blend music are linked together by their originality as artists.
“Our style and music connect because they’re both so different to the game,” noted Legacy. “Usually, mainstream artists, you hear…the same beats and you see the same kind of style. With us, we’re really one of the first people to officially come into the game only wearing skinny jeans. Our music is so different, too, because we have local producers. We have no big producers on our album. All of our producers are like kids our age. Everything compliments each other, because the style and the music are so new to the game.”
Despite their recent success, the boys insist little about them has changed. Even though their schoolmates may be in awe of them, they still view themselves as two friends making music together.
“At first, [school] was crazy,” said Legacy. “It was like they were hooking us up because we were the New Boyz. After awhile, [our classmates] got used to it. But [our school] was connected to a public school, so when we went to the other side to go to the bathroom, everybody would run to the gate and hold out paper [for] signing autographs. They would tell our classmates, ‘Oh my God, you’re in class with the New Boyz,' and they were like ‘So?’ because we we normal people to them because we went to school with them everyday.”
Ben J added, “We just recently started making music like [this]. We’ve been making music for a long time, but being the New Boyz was 11 months ago, so everybody who’s running up to us now…at high school, we had the same classes with them in the same city for the last five years. We were so normal, but it’s crazy and hectic now.”
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