For most, if not all photographers aspiring to get in close to their subjects—especially when it comes to celebrity artists—breaking down that often guarded barrier (be it personality or personal body guard) is never easy. But for those that have managed to break into the inner circle are rewarded with rare insight into the lives of these talents, in all there nonchalant uniqueness. This typically takes a good while to achieve, whether it’s days spent building trust and a solid rapport, or even the courage to attempt such a relationship.

It’s very important to know how to approach these artists when you want to photograph them and it works best for me when I just directly ask the artists because managers/crew are most likely to say no.

Many try, and only a few succeed, often well into their career as a photographer. But then there are those that seem to hit a stroke of luck, are there at the right time, or know what to do to cut through the Manager/Press Relations hurdles to get straight to the artists themselves. 21-year-old photography student Hajar Benjida is one such person who has managed, through a recipe of all three of the aforementioned approaches, to rack up a good stack of candid portraits of some of our favorite hip hip artists. What’s even more surprising is hearing that Benjida is actually typically shy and awkward, the opposite to what you would imagine someone being who kicks it back stage with the likes of the Rae Sremmurd duo, the ever-wild Tyler, The Creator, Yung Thug, and the Basedgod to name but a few.

“I’m actually really shy and awkward and sometimes really wonder how I end up in situations like these. But I have learned a lot the past year. It’s very important to know how to approach these artists when you want to photograph them and it works best for me when I just directly ask the artists because managers/crew are most likely to say no.” Benjida tells Hunger Magazine in their interview with the young up-and-coming photographer on how exactly she managed to pierce through the veil of celebritydom. Click here to read more from the interview, and make sure to go through the gallery throughout to see Benjida’s awesome work and a rare glimpse into the candidness of today’s hip hop landscape.

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