Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Beanie Sigel

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I previously did a post on Memphis Bleek, so it's only fitting I do one for Beanie Sigel. Arguably the #2 behind Jay-Z during Roc-A-Fella's prime, Sigel more often than not came correct on the mic, especially when it came to songs that dealt with introspection, street life, or just straight up hardcore material. I remember when I first him on Jay-Z's "Vol. 2... Hard Knock Life" album on the song "Reservoir Dogs", and at that point I knew he would be a force to be reckoned with, fully confirmed by his verse on "Cru Love", followed by a tight freestyle, which came courtesy of the bonus disc that accompanied the "Hard Knock Life" album. From there, I anticipated his debut, 2000's "The Truth", which I will be discussing a little bit. His discography is VERY good (and slightly underrated) and that's what I'll be focusing on in this post, of course.

I do have a small story on this album, but in the interest of time I won't post that here, and if you've already read my "Years To Own" post, you'll know which story I'm referring to. With that being said, Sigel dropped a very good debut album (his was better than Bleek's). He brought the lyrics, along with production from Kanye West (in one of his first beats on the title track), Just Blaze (Who Want What, featuring Memphis Bleek), the underrated Bink, who blessed the Jay-Z assisted "Raw & Uncut", Buckwild, another underrated producer behind "What A Thug About", and Rockwilder (Stop, Chill). In addition to those hits, we have the innovative (at the time) "Mac Man", in which Sigel raps over a beat with literal Pac Man sound effects mixed in, the awesome collaboration with Scarface, "Mac & Brad", and three straight REAL songs in the form of "What Ya Life Like", "Ride 4 My", and "Die". Wow, with this fire, you would think this would be a classic. It could've been, but songs like "Playa" (featuring Jay-Z and Amil), "Everybody Wanna Be A Star", and "Remember Them Days" (featuring Eve) stop that dead in its tracks. The latter two songs are decent, they just slightly suffer from not so good production. Overall, this was a damn good debut, and based on my words, I have to up the rating for this a little.

Rating- 4 stars (my initial rating was 3.5)

5 favorite songs- What Ya Life Like, Mac & Brad, Raw & Uncut, Die, and Ride 4 My

Coming one year after his debut, "The Reason" came out on June 26, 2001, the day after my birthday. Listening to this album now, it was clear he was aiming for a little more mainstream success. He would achieve that, as "Beanie (Mack B****")"  was one of the most played songs that summer (it received more play that any songs on his debut). The quest for (more) mainstream success didn't affect the overall quality of this album, which is very good, much like his debut. Just Blaze, Kanye West, Rick Rock, and No I.D. are just four of the respectable names who show up for production duties. Lyrically, Sigel was still sharp as ever, which was clear on the great opener "Nothing Like It", the Just Blaze produced banger "Get Down", "Tales of a Hustler", and the second part to "What Your Life Like". The collaborations were great this time around too, as Memphis Bleek does well on the remake to EPMD's "So What You Saying", Scarface continues his great chemistry with Sigel on the apply titled "Mom Praying", and Jay-Z & Rell blesses "Still Got Love For You". Although Daz and Kurupt are featured on "For My N*****" and "Gangsta, Gangsta", respectively, their parts could've been better I think. This album isn't without filler unfortunately, as Sigel gets a little lazy on "I Don't Do Much" (maybe that was the point of this song, lol), and "Watch Your B******" could've easily been left off. Another very good album here, no sophomore jinx in my opinion.

Rating- Probably 3.5 stars, close to 4

5 favorite songs- Still Got Love For You, Mom Praying, Get Down, What Your Life Like Part 2, and Tales of a Hustler

4 years after "The Reason", 2005 saw the release of Sigel's third album, which was completed before he begun a jail sentence in 2004. Overall, from a lyrical and production standpoint, this is his best album to date, as he was so focused and inspired, and you can hear it all through this album. Sigel certainly knew how to start an album off right, in this case, the Heavy D produced "Feel It In The Air" starts things on a great note, heading into two straight tight songs in the form of "I Can't Go On This Way" (featuring Freeway & Young Chris) and the Redman featured "One Shot Deal", over a NICE beat provided by Bink. Speaking of big names, they show up on this album and do exceptionally well, Snoop Dogg assists with the hook on the Neptunes produced banger "Don't Stop", Bun B blesses "Purple Rain", Brand Nubian members Grand Puba and Sadat X bring an early 90s flavor on the Just Blaze produced "Bread & Butter", and I can't forget "It's On", which features Jay-Z. I heard a rumor that this song was allegedly aimed at Cam'ron, and while it does hint at that, I don't think that was possibly, considering that Cam'ron made an apperance on the VERY NEXT song (Wanted: On The Run). Simply put, this is Sigel's best album and I don't think he'll make anything better than this again (as well as his first two albums) .

Rating- 4.5 stars

5 favorite songs- Don't Stop, Feel It In The Air, One Shot Deal, Purple Rain, and Bread & Butter

I actually never heard this album, and based on everything I've heard about it, I'm not missing much.One of the album's best tracks, the Styles P featued "U Ain't Ready For Me", appears on Styles' "Super Gangster, Extrodinary Gentleman" album. And with things changing at The Roc, this was a complete step down from his first three albums, and sadly that would continue.

I heard a FEW things about this album, but oh man I never got around to checking this out either. Plus, this came out on Siccness Records, and I personally don't trust anything released on that, uh, label. Next!

Man, circa 2000-2004, this collaboration album could've been FIRE, but instead, not only was it released to NO hype and fanfare whatsoever in 2010, it was released on Siccness Records, and again, there's no way I was going to check this out, and that's no knock on Sigel and Free.

 Looking at this album cover, Sigel couldn't have possibly agreed to this. It's unique as hell for a Beanie Sigel album cover though. This was released a few weeks prior to him being sentenced to jail again, this time for tax evasion. I did listen to it via Spotify several weeks ago, and honestly I wasn't impressed at all, as this was nothing more than a rush job, something to keep his name out there while he serves his jail time. While I respect wanting to keep your name out there, you would want to give your fans something BETTER than this, and once he's released, this was be TOTALLY forgotten. Even the reunion with State Property (The Reunion) fell completely short. In short, let's not speak of this album again.

Rating- 2.5 stars

I noticed a sharp decline in his work after the "B. Coming" album, and you can attribute that to continuing legal problems, a short, misguided "beef" with Jay-Z, and probably a lack of motivation. One thing you can't deny is that when Sigel was on, he was on.I hope he's keeping his head up during his bid, and I still hope to see the double collaboration album he and Scarface had planned (and not something thrown together either), as that may be his last shot at relevance. If not, well, it may be time for Sigel to call it a career. We shall see what happens.

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