Tel-Aviv– based hip-hop artist Benjamin Elias released his highly-anticipated concept album, Prana. The album, mostly written during a one-week creative binge, tells the story of what it feels like to live in the now truly. Prana will feature artists, TraVoYn, Tony Millions, Guyku, and Soul Special (who is credited as a producer on all seven of the album’s songs), and will be supported with short, lyrical breakdown visuals (Genius style).
Elias will also release some videos explaining how falling in love with yoga inspired him to discover to explore new subject matter in his music and will include a Yoga teacher demonstrating and explaining some positions: exposing the listener to the yogic concept of “Prana.” For local listeners, this concept will be furthered by an innovative release concert in celebration of the album that combines a yoga class at sunset with an outdoor hip-hop show.
Benjamin Elias notes, “Prana was written during a time in my life when I felt a very powerful spiritual awakening. Life had slowed down during COVID, and I had the time to think a lot more about who I am and who I want to be. I hope that by listening to this album, people will feel inspired to be themselves and live life a lot more freely.”
On the opening track, “Dali Lama,” Elias sets the album’s tone with a soothing intro that sounds like a guided mediation (from a female voice), saying: “Today, I want you to focus on your breath more than anything…you might feel awake, you might feel tired, but most importantly, you should feel alive,” immediately allowing the listener to engage in the spiritual practice before being immersed with Elias’ stacked and poetic lyrics, which continues through all 7 tracks.
As Prana navigates through the mindset of embracing the now, listeners will be in for many surprises. One such moment is the beat switch on the fifth track, “Time / Nuweiba,” which shifts mid-track from a story about “working around the clock” to one about the feeling of relaxing on the beach. This moment demonstrates the album’s arc perfectly: descriptive but with plenty of room for breathing and organic composition of thought.
Benjamin Elias has a unique story of being born and partially raised in Denver but then moving to Tel Aviv when he was 13. Living in two such starkly different cultures gave him a unique perspective that he feels translates to his music. Prana (recorded in Israel at KWA Studios), shows an interesting contrast between introspective lyrics and bouncy musical production inspired by artists such as Drake, Jack Harlow, and Travis Scott. Elias shares, “I’ve always been passionate about storytelling (my parents say I could talk long before I could walk) — and my original dream was actually to write books. Once I discovered hip-hop, I felt an immediate rush of energy, and I knew that this was what I was born to do.” Elias is an artist in control of his path, cultivating a sound with a mainstream appeal that doesn’t need to compromise originality and honesty to be catchy and fun.