Beanie Sigel: Mac Musings

Beanie Sigel goes in on some of his past and current songs while adding some color commentary. From his first appearance on Jay-Z’s Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life, people knew that there was something special about Beanie Sigel. The Philly natives distinctive delivery and hard-hitting rhymes solidified his place as one the street’s favorite MC’s. […]

Beanie Sigel goes in on some of his past and current songs while adding some color commentary. From his first appearance on Jay-Z’s Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life, people knew that there was something special about Beanie Sigel. The Philly natives distinctive delivery and hard-hitting rhymes solidified his place as one the street’s favorite MC’s. After surviving the death of one of Hip-Hop’s most prominent dynasties, a shooting in 2006, beating one case and serving a bid for another—and recently, having to spend another day locked up—Beanie Sigel is still standing strong. With his new album, The Solution, Beans seems to have found the answer to the questions of how to start a new chapter in his career, how to continue building on his legacy as one of the streets favorite MC’s, and how to make the rest of the world stand up and take notice. One of the first songs you were featured on as a Roc-A-Fella artist was “Reservoir Dogs” from Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life album. What was that like for you as a new artist?Beanie Sigel: That s**t was crazy for me. I hadn’t even signed my contract yet. For me to get on a track with Jay-Z, the Lox, Sauce Money and hold my own…even if something would’ve happened and I ended up not signing with Jay, that’s something I would’ve been able to hold on to. That’s history right there. I was on a track with Kiss and Jay and them and still shined. That was a big accomplishment right there. [“Reservoir Dogs” – Jay-Z’s Vol. 2: Hard Knock Life (1998)] A couple of years later you and Jadakiss were in the middle of a heated battle. What brought you two to that point?Beanie Sigel: That s**t was like for the sport of it. Like when you playing ball with your mans and you telling him, “Get the f**k out of here man, you can’t beat me.” Y’all going at it on the court, elbowing the s**t out of him and just going hard at each other. It’s closest to that because it was never anything that got physical or personal. Or, at least that’s how I looked at it on my half. Every time we seen each other while we were going at it. it was like, “Yeah n***a, I’m on y’all’s ass.” It was all good man. Before we started getting crazy and getting real hard into it I met up with Kiss. I was like “What’s up, what you trying to do?” And to be real, that was the best thing for me to do at the time. The Lox street cred was crazy. Kiss and them had the streets on smash. And then there was me just stamping my mark. At that time wasn’t nobody crazy enough to go at them n****s man. So it was like win, lose or draw I’m going to leave my mark in the streets like “Yea, I’m here.” It seems now, with Jadakiss now an official Roc-A-Fella member, you guys have come full circle. What was your reaction when you found out he was on the same label?Beanie Sigel: I got excited. Soon as I knew Kiss was coming over it was like, “Yeah, I see it.” The whole process where n****s get back on that real street s**t. I can’t wait for that s**t to happen. On the “Ether” track, Nas alluded to you being better than Jay-Z. Have you two ever battled?Beanie Sigel: Nah. I think both our s**t is on another level when we go in that booth. But Jay, dude ain’t no nut man. Like when he’s in that booth you can’t sleep on him. A lot of people say, especially on The Dynasty album, “You right there, you and him are right there.” But I’ve seen him. Dude does this too easy. You can’t sleep on main man. Jay is the s**t. Keeping it all the way gangster Jay’s the s**t, Scarface is the s**t…like dudes is playing talking about who’s King of the South like Scarface ain’t around no more. And I’m not knocking anybody for what they’re doing because you’re supposed to feel like you’re the best n***a out. But there’s some things that shouldn’t be said. It’s a respect thing and n****s need to respect that s**t. You’ve worked with Scarface on a few occasions; one of the most notable being “This Can’t Be Life” from The Dynasty: Roc La Familia album. That was a very introspective song. How did it all come together?Beanie Sigel: It was just simple man. Just going in the studio with Jay and him is just so easy. And when you’re spitting about real s**t, about something that’s a part of you it’s different. That whole song is real. Everything we said on that song was some real s**t. Everything. Scarface came into the studio. He was laughing and joking and all that then his man calls him. Like all that s**t in his verse is real. That was the song he had come to do. We were working on that song that day. Scarface is my man. I look at him like a brother so he came in f***ing with me, “What’s up Bean bag. What’s up n***a.” You know joking, talking s**t, laughing. Then that phone call comes through. The mood just switched up. And he took that and made the song. “Walked into the studio to do this with Jigg/I got a phone call from one of my niggs…” that was all real. [“This Can’t Be Life” – Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia (2000)] On that same track your verse addressed the fact that you practice Islam and sometimes your faith is questioned because you’re occupation and lifestyle. Is that still an issue?Beanie Sigel: We all do things we’re not really supposed to. Like none of us is supposed to have sex before we’re married. One sin is no greater than the other. Because I don’t change my voice up when I greet another Muslim and try to sound like I’m from Saudi Arabia they try to act like I don’t know what time it is. You get judged by your intentions. You were doing a bid when your last album, The B. Coming was released. Are there any lessons you learned from that situation that you applied to the creation of this album?Beanie Sigel: From the gate I knew what I had to do. I had a lot of frustration from not being here when my last album was released. I wasn’t around to push it like it should’ve been pushed. And I didn’t have anyone on the outside representing me, making sure the album was pushed to its fullest potential. A lot of people at Def Jam thought I was going to Dame Dash Music Group. That album came out on Roc-a-fella/Def Jam. If people would’ve talked to me they would’ve known. Dame was the only one who would come see me in jail so he could come back and tell people anything. He’d always be like, “Yo, I’m about to go see Sig,” so if you don’t call me, or visit, there’s no contact…he could tell you anything. So the biggest problem was the lack of communication.[“Gotta Have It” f/ Peedi Crakk & Twista – Beanie Sigel’s The B. Coming (2005)] Why do you think everyone was just following him instead of trying to reach out to you?Beanie Sigel: Because if he just came from seeing me and we ain’t been talking, you got no choice but to believe him. So by him making all these decisions based on bitterness over the separation…I don’t know what he was out here saying. So from what he was telling people they just let the project go. The only video that got played was the “Feel it in the Air” video but I did like seven videos before I went in. I had people in my house, emptying my garage out and s**t for the video shoots. We was there four, five, six o’clock in the morning. I did like seven videos in four days and the record company still let it go. I still did Gold. I still came out and sold more than a lot of artists that were out there and able to push their s**t. So that kind of gets to me when I think about it like, “Damn, what if I’d have been out and had that kind of support?” That might had been the album that took me over. I had a lot of n****s telling me, “Yo, that B. Coming s**t was crazy.” [“Feel it in the Air”- Beanie Sigel’s The B. Coming (2005)] On The Solution you have a collaboration with Styles P. What was it like working with him?Beanie Sigel: That s**t was crazy. When I told all my n****s that I was going [to the studio], usually most of them will be like, “Aight, we’ll f**k with you when you get back.” But when I said I was going in the studio to do this joint with Styles the whole f***ing hood was trying to go. N****s like, “Yo, you got to be on your best.” Like, it’s still that competitiveness. N****s is feeding off that s**t. We came in, he was there, brought the beat and everything. He was like “I got this joint.” Had the hook and all that s**t. So we both spitting, going back and forth. We just writing, piecing s**t together like, “Yea, what you got? Aight put that here, And I’m going to say this right here.” Then we went in the booth and did it. When we was in the booth everybody was looking at us all crazy and when we came out, turned that s**t up and let it rock, it came out crazy. N****s was losing their minds. And Styles is crazy with his because he don’t write s**t down he just got that s**t in his head.  I guess he got that from being around B.I.G. but he got it. He’s quick too. The song came together fast.[“You Ain’t Ready for Me” – Beanie Sigel’s The Solution (2007)] That sounds like one of those moments that should’ve been put on a “behind the scenes” DVD. Do you have any other moments in your career you wish you could’ve recorded?Beanie Sigel: I wish I had a camera when me and Jay was doing some of them joints off The Dynasty album. Man, we should’ve filmed that whole process. When me and Jay did the joint “Once Again It’s On.” That s**t was crazy. Roc-A-Fella was one of the most promising crews in the game. Unfortunately differences between the bosses led to it splitting up. Do you feel you would have been able to mediate things if you were around when everything was going down?Beanie Sigel: I would like to think I could’ve  been there to be like. NNah, what the f**k are ya’ll doing man.” I would like to have been there to be, “Aight, you ain’t feeling this. He did whatever and you ain’t feeling that. Aight you do this, he’ll do that but we need to make sure this here stays together.” I would love to think if I’d been there I’d been able to do something. And I hate to get geographical on it but they’ve known each other for a while. Me being from Philly, I’m an outside n***a. I’m cool with them but I’m still an outside n***a. My opinion wouldn’t have been biased as opposed to Dame and his peoples from Harlem and Jay with everybody from Brooklyn. From the outside looking in it looked like a Brooklyn versus Harlem thing. So I wish I could’ve been right there in the middle. But in the end, it probably just needed to happen. Who knows? Maybe there was just a change in the relationship. Because it’s not like they went out on some crazy s**t. It was so secretive but it became so big because we were Roc-a-Fella. We was the squad that preached togetherness. We were nothing like other n****s man. We had that run that was making You’ve been in the game for a while. Though you’re love in the streets is unmatched, you haven’t seen that mainstream success yet. And with you being considered a “hardcore” artist, it’s getting harder to get that commercial success. What is it that keeps you going?Beanie Sigel: I got a lot of n****s I take care of. I got a lot of n****s to feed. I’m keeping it funky. Plus, I stay around the streets. I know there’s a bunch of hungry little n****s in the hood. I go back and f**k with them n****s. I never distance myself from them so I always know what’s going on. They keep me sharp. There’s a bunch of rap n****s in Philly. Them n****s be spitting that s**t! I can’t let one of them come for mines. I’m around them, in the studio with them. They hungry, they trying to eat so they’re going to be on your ass. You got to make sure your s**t is tight. So I try to stay grounded to them and that keeps me humble. That’s why the music I make is always going to be relevant. Everybody’s not going to drive a Phantom, everybody can’t cop a Maybach or have jewelry. Everybody’s struggle or hustle is different, so that’s what I represent.