From Hackney, London, England, the Benz took their names from the fact that the three participants - Tim Shade, Darkboy and B.I.G. Ben - all had Ben as their original Christian names. They first rehearsed together at the Wally Foster’s Community Centre in Hackney. There they attempted to create their own musical style, which they termed ‘BoomRockSoul’. Drawing influences from artists as diverse as the Beatles and Public Enemy, they signed to RCA Records in December 1993 after walking into the company offices with a demo tape. It took some time before their career was advanced, however, but in 1995 they joined Take That on a major UK tour. Tim Shade also rapped on label-mate Michelle Gayle’s UK Top 10 hit, ‘Happy To Be With You’. Their debut single, ‘Urban City Girl’, was released in 1996 and became a minor UK chart hit. Like much of their material, it drew on B.I.G. Ben’s Christian beliefs and also their immediate Hackney environment. B.I.G. Ben later enjoyed success as featured vocalist for DJs Phats And Small on two 1999 UK Top 10 hits, ‘Turn Around’ and ‘Feel Good’.
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