NEW YORK — You never know who you'll run into just by walking down the streets of Manhattan. On Thursday, Farnsworth Bentley was walking among the fans flowing out of club Float after seeing Kanye West, the Young Gunz, Memphis Bleek and Rell perform a benefit for LifeBeat.
Before the assistant to Sean Combs — or as Bentley refers to him, "the chairman" — disappeared into the New York night, a small congregation gathered around as he told MTV News about his aspiration to rock the mic and a collaboration he's cooking up with Kanye.
"I've got Mobb Deep, Slick Rick, Nas," yelled a bootlegger, who was carrying an assortment of black market CDs in a crate, trying to solicit Farnsworth.
"I don't want none of those," Bentley said. "All up in my interview, disrupting my interview. I don't want none of those. Thank you, though. You can ask anybody else."
Now back to Mr. Bentley's shine and the chatter that he's going to be working with Kanye.
"There's a rumor that is going out that Mr. West has signed the gentleman Mr. Bentley, a.k.a. Cascade Cabernet, a.k.a. Cashmere, because I have so much. What I can say is that the gentleman has reached out to me and there's a particular song on his album called 'The [New] Workout [Plan].' He did ask me to get on the remix."
Although Bentley will be performing with West and we've heard him spit rhymes on the radio and Da Band's debut LP, don't get the wrong idea.
"First of all, I would like to get this out there: I am not an MC," he hissed. "I'm not a rapper, I am a renaissance man. You have to create a whole new category for me. What I do is dissertation over instrumental."
Bentley even gave the tiny crowd a sample of his lyricism.
"You've met the college dropout, now meet the college finisher/ Farnsworth Bentley slim like a Doberman Pincher/ You can ask my mentor/ '03 the dress rehearsal, now I'm the big spender/ Still need another hint-a?/ Supercharged Mini Cooper, leather interior/ Sorry, MCs, if you offended/ Find out Farnsworth sh-- sound splendid/ Just two years in the game, yet he pimped it."
You're never gonna catch Farnsworth in the regular hip-hop gear of an icy white tee and sports team top — "The gentleman movement has begun," he insists, "throwback jerseys, I'm not impressed/ My attire stays pressed" — but he'll be picking up an accessory staple in the hip-hop community in about 30 days or so.
"I've had these for a while," he said referring to the braces on his teeth. "I'm getting these off in a month. I'm so excited. I got my teeth cleaned today. People don't understand. Let me tell you something, I'm from the South. The only reason I got braces is 'cause I want golds in my mouth. Believe that! I'mma have the most incredible diamonds in my mouth that the whole game has ever seen in history. Believe that!"
As for what Bentley thought of the show he just left, he extended cheers to the Roc.
"Mr. Kanye West reached out to the gentleman and told me he was performing," Bentley said. "I was looking forward to it because I thoroughly enjoy his album, but I hadn't had the opportunity to see him live. The [sound] system was a little suspect at times, but he stopped the show, which is something that most new artists are afraid to do. He commanded the stage; he had the fans with him the entire time during the show. I was more than impressed."
"I've got Mobb Deep, Slick Rick, Nas," the bootlegger, back on his grind, said as he came back toward the gathering.
"Is it this guy again?" Bentley lamented.