The Jarkaster Journey: Remixing Kevin Bennett

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Photo / ESW Wrestling

Around the Northeast United States and Canada, Kevin Bennett is well-known for his in-ring performances. From Quebec to Pennsylvania, from Maine to Ontario and many places in between, Bennett’s wrestling talent is continuously creating more fans throughout the independent scene. Here we are exploring the remixing of Kevin Bennett.

However, there is more to Bennett than what one sees within the squared circle. Wrestling to many in the present-day is considered to be a form of art. Thus by this definition, it is only appropriate for Bennett to be a part of this industry and explains why he is excelling at it. With his background in music, drawing and video production, labeling Bennett simply as a wrestler does not completely do him justice. When looking at, all things considered, it is more fitting to view him simply as an artist.

Being nearly a lifelong resident of North Tonawanda, N.Y., Bennett’s first passion as a child was drawing, especially cartoons. He credits his father with influencing him to draw as well as growing up as a fan of the television show “The Simpsons.” The first movie he ever saw, “The Lion King”, also led him to want to draw wildlife.

Photo / YouTube

Other members of his family helped fuel his interest in drawing, too.

“I always loved drawing animals like lions, tigers, big cats,” Bennett said. “My grandparents were like that too. They used to take me to the zoo.”

As Bennett grew older, music became a bigger interest in his life. The first music he liked was influenced by his wrestling fandom.

“With pro wrestling, one of the major things I liked about it was the theme songs,” Bennett said. “I used to watch it just because of that. I literally would just get the video games to just get the updated theme songs and make a huge collection.”

He liked that the theme songs helped shape each wrestlers’ own identity. This is exemplified in two of Bennett’s favorite themes: Triple H’s “My Time” and Steve Austin’s class entrance song. He also cites the simple guitar riffs as something that caught on to his liking.

His enjoyment of music led to his eventual pursuit of performing it. Ironically enough, rather than joining an alternative rock band that sounded like his favorite theme songs, Bennett pursued rap music. Once again, his family played a role in helping cultivate his interest.

“I got into rap when I was about 7 to 10 years old when my brother introduced me to his friends who had a rap group,” Bennett said. “I was really impressed that they had their own songs.”

Photo / Kevin Bennett

The group was called One Eight Seven Thugs. Although they did not perform live shows, Bennett was still intrigued by how the group was able to create its own songs independently and pushed him to want to give rapping a try. Bennett credits one of the One Eight Seven Thugs members for kick-starting his rap career by taking him under his wing to rap alongside Bennett and make beats.

Among mainstream rappers, Bennett considers 50 Cent his biggest influence. He also credits Drake, Big Sean, and G Eazy as influences on his style.

Before reaching high school, Bennett already put his music on a recorded format.
“In 7th Grade, I put a song on a CD,” Bennett said. “I put it on my mom’s stereo kitchen and thought it was the coolest thing ever.”

Despite recording his music at a young age, it would be several years before Bennett performed his first rap concert. In 2013, he performed at Bottoms Up in Buffalo, N.Y. He credited his background in wrestling helping him get comfortable on the stage quickly. Eventually, he opened for bigger acts at various Buffalo-area venues including Three 6 Mafia, KYLE, Chris Webby, and Aaron Carter.

His rapping career opened Bennett to being exposed to the musical production process, which in itself would turn into another one his major interests. Creating music himself is something he holds close to his heart.

“I take pride in doing everything myself including recording the beats and making the music videos. I want everything to be original,” Bennett said. “I don’t like other people making my things. I’m a D.I.Y. guy.”

Bennett’s most known song is his Pokémon rap. The video game was something he was a fan of up until the second generation. Thus, during the Pokémon Go craze that occurred a few years ago, his friend and former pro wrestling stablemate Tyler Body a.k.a Big Tank put the idea in Bennett’s head to rap every single Pokémon.

Photo / YouTube

“One thing that some viral videos do is reference pop culture that is very popular at the moment,” Body said. “So at work one day I just suggested him making a Pokémon rap while this new game is out and everyone is on the bandwagon for it. Sure enough, he took the idea and knocked it out of the ballpark by referencing the first 150 Pokémon in order. It was mind-blowing how good it was and the twists he used on the names of the Pokémon to keep the whole song going. He definitely deserved the attention he got from it.”

The song broke the 1 million view mark on Facebook, nearly reached 250,000 on YouTube and hit 25,000 plays on SoundCloud.

You can check out the song here:

Along with producing his own rap music videos, Bennett also crafted several wrestling-related videos.

“I used to make highlight videos for fun with WWE stars like Jeff Hardy and Eddie Guerrero,” he said.

Bennett turned that hobby into a professional craft as he makes highlight recap videos that play at the beginning of every Empire State Wrestling event to help energize the audience.

His production presence can also be heard at ESW shows, as many members of the roster use entrance songs that Bennett created. Those wrestlers include Brandon Thurston, Daniel Garcia, Jerk Cockins, Sebastian Suave, Frankie Feathers as well as himself.

“I’ll start out on what they envision,” Bennett said. “They may refer to something on YouTube and I’ll get their vibe. Then I’ll see where it goes on the fly. That’s how my creativity works.”

Although he already established himself as a wrestler for a few years, Bennett did not incorporate rapping into his wrestling gimmick until 2014.

“I didn’t want to at first because I didn’t want to be a stereotypical white rapper like John Cena,” Bennett said.

He first started doing the rapper gimmick at Smash Wrestling in Canada. He believes it was received well as a heel character as it caused a very negative reaction from the fans and were legitimately invested in booing his character. He profits monetarily off the notoriety as well by making shirts talking bad about himself and regularly sells them all.

Bennett also made songs for specific angles he was involved with at Smash. When he faced United Kingdom-based wrestler Mark Haskins, he wrote the song “Shindy Prick” about him.

You can listen to it here:

He also made a diss track slamming all the participants in Smash Wrestling’s Gold Tournament called “I’m the Gold One”, in which he trashes wrestlers such as Tarik, Dalton Castle, Lio Rush, and Suave, among others.

You can listen to it here:

He also came up with songs for a match against Tyson Dux and did a freestyle rap on Jay White from New Japan Pro Wrestling.

Bennett sees great value in his overall artistic pursuits.

“It’s really good to be well-rounded,” he said. “I’d rather know a bunch of different things than be a one-trick-pony. What I do also for income is I have a beat store online. I can pay some bills with my beats. I can have multiple streams of income doing stuff.”

You can check out his beats store here: http://www.8thavebeats.com/

On top of his musical and wrestling pursuits, Bennett also became a father recently. His daughter was born on October 8, 2018. He feels it is only natural that she will inherit some of his artistic genes.

“(Becoming a father) is a feeling you can’t explain,” Bennett said. “It’s like looking at yourself. It’s a unique bond you have with another human being. I can’t wait to see what she grows to be. I know she’ll have some talent from me, at least the artistic side.”

Adding fatherly responsibilities made him cut back on some things, but ultimately is making his ventures even more worthwhile.

“It’s been a little harder to get in the gym, work my day job and tanning. There’s not enough time in the day – 24 hours isn’t enough,” Bennett said. “(Fatherhood) makes me want to work harder. I want to share my success with my daughter, my girlfriend and my whole family. I’d rather do it for everyone else than myself.”

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