Beanie Sigel

Mixtape Review: Beanie Sigel’s “Broad Street Empire, Vol. 1: Lost Files”

Rating: 8 / 10

One of the most memorable moments in Hip-Hop came with the introduction of the now classic animated series “The Boondocks.” The show was usually talked about and dissected by fans and critics to the tenth degree (and at times, it still is due to it’s multiple references to Hip-Hop and culture in general). By far, one of the standout moments of the three-season series takes place when a couple of the characters are discussing a plan to woo candy sellers to their side due to a business rivalry in its infant stages (Season 3, “The Fund-Raiser”). One of the characters mentions that they should try to offer better prizes or incentives, only to be shot down by a different character who states:

“That’s not what Beans would do. Beans would go to war.”

The same could be said about Beanie Sigel now, musically. After mostly holding his tongue throughout the majority of his tribulations, he’s finally opened up completely about his thoughts and feelings towards things in the rap game, via mixtape. Broad Street Empire Vol. 1 is a call back to simpler times when Beans was known for his witty punchlines and gritty delivery; in essence it’s the same Mack we vibed with when we thought the Roc-A-Fella Dynasty would last forever.

BSE starts off tough, and it paces itself well throughout to remain interesting for almost all of the 17 tracks. The first few songs have Sigel unloading the lyrical Mac (pun intended) as he showcases his hunger. The notable tracks at the beginning are special for a couple of reasons: “Show Must Go On” addresses the “glitches in the system” that led to the demise of the golden era of Roc-A-Fella/State Property run, but in a sudden switch Beans goes from introspective to all-out assault as he drops strong bars concerning two of Hip-Hop’s heavyweights during the second and third verses of “The Pay Back”:

“I got caught with a gat, they tried to roof a n*gga /
Offered me 30 flat for shootin a n*gga /
Shorty got caught with some hardware /
And he home already, somethin’ wrong there /
If I don’t see it I don’t say it, that’s how I play it /
I’m just sayin’ what they sayin’, but they scared to say it /
And I ain’t sayin’ holmes told, but tell me somethin’ /
Sh**, a silencer alone get you 20-somethin’ /
Am I right or am I wrong? I stand corrected /
The guidelines [are] the guidelines, no exceptions /
Whoever ridin’ with that s**t? Man, y’all tippin’ /
You can take it how you want n*gga, I’m rippin’…”

“…You were hyping me, inviting me, enticing me to rhyme /
Didn’t know at the time you were taking my lines /
Take off my coat, you were stealing my quotes /
Every line I was writing, you were biting ‘til the last note /
You take an idea, go in the booth and spill /
And make the world think the thought took years to build /
Still steal a rhyme after the next one /
Yeah, I think it’s ‘bout time that I check son…”

It shouldn’t be too hard to figure out who he’s addressing in the excerpts above. Although the rest of the project is relatively light on disses after that, it doesn’t reduce the song quality by any means. “B Boy Stance” has Beans dropping several references to prove his point, and “Mack B***h” features Sean Anthony and is somewhat reminiscent of the old school sounding tracks such as Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusherman”, but there’s nothing quite like hearing State Property and company rap together again. Thankfully for five of the last six songs we’re treated to that, and it’s as if none of them had lost a step lyrically.

The project isn’t perfect by any means (some of this is due to the hit-and-miss production on a few songs), and most of the tracklisting doesn’t exactly feel like “songs” in the traditional sense. This is a mixtape through and through, but if anything has been learned from Broad Street Empire Vol. 1, we know that this project serves its purpose for two things: it fulfills that itch some may have had for the type of rap that was being served in the days of the Roc, and it shows that Beans is back and never lost his step lyrically. With this project serving as the precursor to his upcoming album “The Classic”, Beans has set the bar high out of the gate. Long story short, the Mack is back, and it’s not farfetched to hope he continues to impress with his next LP due to the quality street rap he’s providing here, but only time will tell.

You can download Broad Street Empire Vol. 1: Lost Files here.


  • ladynamor

    Respect for telling the truth. People need more clarity on what is real and what is fake these days. The wise men say the one who leaves the flock leads the flock. Now if we can only get the fans to appreciate music that isnt forced down our neck by payola and all those industry bed partner tricks they use, hip hop may survive. At least rap may survive. People are so infactuated by the marketing schemes of the labels, they don’t even judge the music by what sounds good or what is new and different. If you can rap on beat, you can be corny as hell and make it because people feel sorry for you nowadays. Beans can spit, true talent. Alot of these dudes like Jay and Ye and Wayne and them lack the skills to really change or come with something that will move people without glitter. Jay has always had to “dress up” his whole package because it never was really his. I always hear Biggie, Beans and a slew of other  dudes in his flow. Between Jay and Beyonce, they have stolen more styles than than anyone I have ever seen, but the fanbase they target have no idea. People forget so fast. Anyway good luck trying to teach these hardheaded tunnelvision fans how to appreciate authentic rap over image and marketing.

    • thank God someone sees the whole jay-z nonsense like i do. im a huge kanye fan but hes glittered to the T nowadays and i cant even fade it. def gonna get this beans piece tho, he’s always been on that real shit

    •  Legit comment. The issue is that anything that has a following becomes profitable, and when it hits that phase… well, anything can happen. That’s why several genres have died off, because of the fact that people exploit them to the point they become shells of themselves.

      I like Kanye. I like Jay. I just re-copped the “Roc La Familia” joint two days ago, lol. I even like Wayne up to Carter III. But when money’s involved, things change.

      It shouldn’t be that way, but at the same time I can’t knock the hustle. I just wish it wasn’t at the expense of the culture sometimes.

  • tbirdandkoolaid

    I wonder who’s he referencing that cheese eating line too….

    listening to these bloggers they’ll tell you he paid off the FEDS to get that bullet…

    pay off the FEDS? ex felon got with major HEAT?

    yea just sign your royalties over to the FEDS and they’ll give you a bullet, be home in 8…


  • The Show must go on is a HARD track!

  • jkirkoboi

    he’s washed up tho!!                          RUNDATBAKK_COM

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