Tales of a Hustler
From Beanie’s stoic demeanor, it would seem hard to crack his steely glare and ice-cold exterior. Volk’s first chance to speak with the rapper came last year around February when the reporter bumped into Sigel, his fiancée, and his mother on an elevator at the 2004 trial.
Volk said he straightforwardly asked Sigel, “Are you currently running a drug operation in South Philadelphia.” “He started laughing and shook my hand a second time,” said Volk. Sigel then replied, “Man, if it ain’t got nothing to do with music, I ain’t got nothing to do with it.”
After meeting with Sigel several times, Volk said he grasped an understanding not of Beanie Sigel the rapper but of Dwight Grant, a complex human being. “I’ve talked to enough alleged perpetrators…to know that they are three dimensional people,” said Volk. “But to come up against someone where I’d heard such a litany of bad stuff and then find him to be as thoughtful and intelligent and creative as he is, it’s a real eye opener. This guy’s got worlds in him.”
Although she was unable to speak with AllHipHop.com for this particular story, Ma Sigel admitted to not really knowing all sides to her son in an earlier interview in March. “Sitting there each day in court, while he was there and listening to the testimony and the trolley, the only thing that I can say [about the charges] is that he pleads guilty to it,” Michelle told AllHipHop.com.
“I would say maybe it didn’t go exactly how they said because I’ve known him all my life, and I know the type of person he is. But when you sit there listening to what’s coming out of his mouth, what can I say, that there’s just a small part of him that I really don’t know.”
Former Roc-A-Fella CEO Damon Dash, who recently launched Damon Dash Music Group and has been instrumental in Sigel’s Rap career from the start, said that Beanie is as real as they come. As Beanie presently sits in the pen, Dash has been promoting the rapper’s latest album B. Coming, which has been heralded as his most profound and successful record yet.
“Where some rappers glorify things they've never done, or speak about things that they never done, when Beanie speaks he's talking about his emotions, his opinions on things that are going on directly in his life,” Dash told the Associated Press. "It would be like, what if John Gotti could sing?"
Hip-Hop's Big Brother
In the past few years, the feds have launched or adopted a number of known investigations against Hip-Hop stars—a probe into Murder Inc. head Irv “Irv Gotti” Lorenzo’s alleged ties to notorious convicted crack dealer, Kenneth “Supreme” McGriff and Lil’ Kim’s perjury case. Farther back, J.Prince, head of Rap-A-Lot Records, and Suge Knight were speculated to once be under the watchful eyes of the government. Now, Beanie Sigel may join the ranks for his suspected drug connections in the South Philly area.
The natural question that might arise is whether the feds actually have anything concrete on Beanie. According to Philadelphia authorities, as well as the feds, they mostly have connections, which is enough to investigate further.
“His family says, and he has said to me, that he’s still friends with many people who may be involved in whatever they’re involved in and his name invariably comes up in drug investigations located in South Philadelphia,” said Volk. “A lot of this would be based on ties that [police] feel he has with people who are dealing drugs.”
But why are the feds suddenly concerned with rappers? Or more important, are these investigations just beginning to surface or have they always existed?
“To me it does seem rather coincidental that suddenly the feds are scooping up these cases and there’s this talk of a federal investigation into Beanie right around the same time [of the Murder Inc. probes],” said Volk. “It’s crazy to think that at this point in his life he would still be caught up in this stuff. The more that I speak to his family, the more I speak to him, the more I find myself thinking…who knows.”
Only Beanie. And he’s got a world of legal troubles waiting upon his release from jail, with an attempted murder retrial still pending.
As the federal government continues to delve deeper into Hip-Hop legal and illegal affairs to draw potential parallels between the Rap world and the drug world, there’s no telling what truths or half-truths might be exposed, who could be next on the stand, or whether your favorite rapper’s street life may finally catch up.
Perhaps Beanie, who cryptically makes reference to the feds in “Tales of a Hustler Pt. 2” (B. Coming), says it best: “Shootin’ arm stay jerkin’/My Nextel stay chirpin’/Can't answer cause the feds lurkin’...”