Even as a millionaire Beanie Sigel was still standing on the same corners and hanging on the same blocks he did before the fame. While as street as they come, this hasn’t always worked out in his favour. There’s no question that musical authenticity has always been on his side, but unfortunately the wrong side of the law is a side he’s all a bit too familiar with.
Easily one of the most consistent rappers in the game, it’s pretty hard to downplay or negatively discuss any of his work. A hustler turned superstar, he first stepped on to the scene as part of Jay-Z’s Rocafella roster that would soon set the industry ablaze. Later independently setting up State Property with Freeway, Peedi Crakk, Oschino, Sparks and the Young Gunz, Beans has always had his finger on the pulse.
Now with more pending legal cases than DMX, he not only publicly fell out with his friend and mentor, Jay-Z, he was also shunted out of a shoe deal by Dame Dash, which resulted in their friendship expiring also. It’s almost as if the world decided to throw everything at him just to enjoy watching him climb up out of it, because that’s exactly what he does every time.
With that said, This Time is his farewell album for the moment – he reports to prison for a two year stint on September 12th due to unpaid taxes. Standing at 11 tracks in length, beats, rhymes and life is what’s on the menu, and boy does it taste good…
Due to leading such a colourful life, subject matters are always a focal point for Beans. This Time is no different. While there’s nothing new as far as street tales go [guns, drugs, and hard times], it’s the way in which he flicks through verses like movie scenes. Think Biggie-meets-Scorsese but with a Philly twist. Tracks such as “Bang Bang Youth,” which features Junior Reed, and “No Hook” are perfect examples of that dark, play-no-games type of rap that you come to expect from the Broad Street Bully.
Sticking with the cinematic approach, the album opens with an introduction performed by Oliver Laing. Harmoniously descriptive, the album is set up like the beginning of a classic James Bond movie. Immediately following this, again featuring Laing, the album’s title track hears Beans runs through his everyday reality and addresses those with an opinion – “I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t/ Some say I will, some say I won’t.” Giving you an idea of what he’s been up against the past few years [jail, drugs, the highs and lows] and how he’s going to rise up out of it, you’re left feeling like a supporter and hoping he does make it, sort of like an underdog.
Stepping away from the rougher side of life for a brief moment, “The Reunion” sees State Property reunited for only the second time since the break up [the first being “All 2Gether Now” taken from Statik Selektah’s Stick 2 The Script album]. Sampling Sly & The Family Stone, the fast paced drum heavy joint hears each member come together like Voltron. The chemistry is obvious. It’s almost as if they never left.
Other tracks not to be missed include “Kush Dreaming,” a slow motion moment, and the Sean Anthony Francis assisted “Sigel Is What They Call Me.”
The life and times of an out and out street hustler is never easy. Bad habits die hard. Let’s just be thankful that he’s still got it when he sets foot in the booth. While on this album what Beans is saying isn’t exactly life changing, at least you know what you’re getting with him, and he’s one of the best at it. Professional as ever, even with prison time pending Beanie Sigel’s musical output cannot be perturbed, and he proves this theory time and time again.