As 2007 draws to a close and year-end lists are compiled for the best albums, its a given that Roc-A-Fella artists will be rubbing shoulders at the top. The Roc has been pumping pure quality into the mainstream from Kanyes Graduation, Freeways scorching sophomore effort Free At Last, and Jay-Zs American Gangster. Unfortunately with the highly anticipated release The Solution (Roc-A-Fella), Beanie Sigel seems to be unsure about which way he wants to go with his sound. While sometimes a new direction and innovative ideas work, often times some things get lost in translation as is the case here.
The album kicks off with lead single All of the Above featuring R. Kelly; a club joint produced by The Runners. Beans lets us know that hes left his legal troubles far behind and hes feeling quite comfortable in the VIP booth: Millionaire boys club / Cant chill in here / Gold bottles of that bub / Yall spilling beer.
Additionally, Siegel teams up with big brother Shawn Carter on Gutted; where the two trade jabs at rappers with short paper. Jigga however posts up on Beans over the funk groove with his spot-on guest verse: Your salary / Is like celery / Eatin over here ni*** / You like salad to me / Get your weight up / Get your steak up / Those little acres / Get your estate up! Other noteworthy joints include the Rain (Brigde) featuring Scarface and Raheem DeVaughn and You Aint Ready For Me featuring Styles P. Unfortunately he cant keep things as consistent over the course of the whole album.
What ultimately ends up really hurting Beans is his choice in production. On previous efforts beat smiths like Kanye West, and Just Blaze help shaped the albums sonically. However this time around less notables such as Dre and Vidal man almost half of the project. Tracks like Judgment Day seems forced with a heavy metal guitar courtesy of Ozzy Osbourne / Black Sabbath. Another suspect selection is the sampling of sappy British singer James Blunt on the somber self-reflective Dear Self. Beanie recalls negative points in his life with the man in the mirror but doesnt connect due to the songs lifeless nature.
Overall, Beans return shows that he still deserves a spot on the Rocs roster, however next time around a better choice in production and direction needs to be made if he expects to maintain that spot. After listening to this offering, theres no need to drop your diamond in the sky. You just may want to lower it a little, thats all.