Beanie Sigel: The Answer

Beanie Sigel indeed auditioned for the role of Christopher “The Notorious B.I.G.” Wallace in the late rapper’s forthcoming biopic, but he’s already long been typecast. Sigel himself admits that whether it be via the Broad Street Bully’s aggressive rhymes, his roles in the State Property 2 flick, or his own well-documented run-ins with the law, people often walk on eggshells when initially meeting him one on one. Regardless, it's been two years since his release from prison and he’s ready to release his fourth album, The Solution. So no, Beans isn’t prone to randomly flip out and doesn’t always maintain a surly demeanor. When speaking on his impending Roc-a-fella/Def Jam album, the man Jay-Z and Dame both wanted on their prospective teams in the post-Roc-a-Fella dynasty era is damn near giddy—stressing that he’s working this new album like it’s his first.

This interview was conducted about a day before his latest legal debacle, so let’s hope Beans can stay free from further trouble, because in a year when either ultra-hipster MCs or hyper gangster posturers are winning, Sigel’s introspective street Hip-Hop is a worthy stimulant for fans needing an alternative fix. So what’s The Solution?Beanie Sigel: To what? Word is the title was Return of the Bad Guy, so why is it now The Solution?Beanie Sigel: The first song I recorded when I had came home, it was a track that used a sample from the Scarface movie, so that’s where that came from. That was the first song I did called “Return of the Bad Guy”. That was the generic title. And then I started recording; towards the end I was searching for a title cause the music, to me, it was strong, it was different in production and a lot of things I usually do as far as music wise than my other albums. I think this might be the strongest one to date as far as the music, the lyrics, the production. So, The Solution. The solution to me for a lot of things as far as getting the music that I want to hear in the course of a day, I really can’t hear it if I’m listening to the radio or watching videos. It’s the solution to that, for me. It’s the solution to problems, whether it be mine or somebody else’s. I made a lot of songs that people can get stuff from. You record The B. Coming knowing you were about to go to jail, besides that was there any difference in your approach to recording this new album? Beanie Sigel: The B. Coming, I was rushing. At first while I was taking my time doing a lot of songs. When I do my album; I record, if I ain’t feeling the music, I’ll put it away. He might be like [pointing to his associate], "Naw, you crazy, that song’s it." That’s been my whole thing in my career. I record like 15, 16, 17 songs and they ready to put that album out as soon as I get that one that they think can be a single, they ain’t even worrying about the second or third single, "Put it out, put it out!" I always was rushed. This album here will be my first album I can say I completed [it] at my own pace and I’m comfortable and I’m ready to put it out. The music didn’t sound rushed on The B. Coming and you had a plan going in, did it not come together?Beanie Sigel: The promotion plan ain’t go through. I knew I was going to have to go away for a minute, everybody knew. So I did as much as I could once I found out what my time was, I had to go away for a year and a day. I did enough things that if I couldn’t promote it physically there was a visual. I did seven videos in five days. I recorded my whole court process. My whole house arrest time, I did like 18 weeks on house arrest. A whole mixtape I recorded in my house on house arrest—I brought equipment and built a studio in my house. I was in there recording songs everyday. I had all that footage on film. After I went in it was like put it out and it do what it just do. I think if [the label] paid a little more attention to it, for what it was that album could have been a lot bigger. I mean it went gold but if they had pushed it man…The court stuff it was there, so it was like, What can I do to use this to help me? Anything that they tried to use against me I was using it for me. I did a lot of work man but I felt it went in vain. So what’s the label is this new album coming out on, Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam? Def Jam?Beanie Sigel: Def Def Jam, ok…Beanie Sigel: Roc-a-Fella [chuckling] Fans where expecting you to hit the ground running when you were released from prison, did you take your time on purpose?Beanie Sigel: Actually when I came home…I ain’t write no music while I was locked up. I ain’t write one rap when I was away. Why not?Beanie Sigel: Just the atmosphere, it wasn’t it for me. I ain’t feel it, yanahmean? I was in jail so I wasn’t Beanie Sigel, I was regular. So I didn’t even think about writing raps. I was writing my raps without writing them, if that sounds…that’s an oxymoron, whatever. I was writing my raps without writing them by just soaking in a lot of stuff that was around me. Stuff that I was seeing, hearing, interacting with different people in the jail. The raps was already there I just had to put them down when I came home. I had a lot to talk about, so it was there. I just had to put it down and get to the music. So when I first came home, just with the situation of the Roc-a-Fella break up and the split up there was a lot of things that just turned me off from making music at that point; on the business side of things. When I finally got my situation straight, like I wanted to have it, I started recording. I wanted to have a break. It felt good to have a time out for a minute. I ain’t wanna leave from the music, go away to jail, and then come back and jump right back into it. I wanted to get time to relax, downtime, family with my kids and stuff and just slowly get back into it and that’s what I did. Usually I just go in the studio and just record; whether it’s 16 bars, put that on the beat, sit it over there and we get back to it. I ain’t do that on this album. When I went in I knew I was going in to make a song. I ain’t do mixtape stuff, none of that. Everything that I was writing was for album purposes. You just mentioned wanting to get your "situation" straight, what do you mean?Beanie Sigel: My situation as far me getting back into the thing. Making that transition from the Roc-a-Fella split and where I was going to be and what I felt that I wanted at the time from the label or whatever. Once I got that straightened how I wanted it, that’s when I went in and started recording. Is it true you’re not going to be working with Dame anymore or is that just a rumor?Beanie Sigel: I mean a lot of people thought I was going to be on Dame Dash Music Group when I came home. That wasn’t the case. I was in the position where I had to choose between two of my friends and I wasn’t willing to compromise that so I just backed out of the whole situation period. But you’re on Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam now, so how did your current situation come to be?Beanie Sigel: I’m on Def Jam/Roc-a-Fella. So I’m assuming you’re cool with both of Dame and Jay-Z still?Beanie Sigel: Yeah, I don’t have no problem with nobody. It’s just that actually, to be totally honest, I was always still signed to Roc-a-Fella, being binded by contract. It really wasn’t a matter of making a choice, it was just a decision. Cause really they could have kept me binded by my contract and there wasn’t nothing I could do about that. So what’s the status of your clothing line?Beanie Sigel: Right now I’m trying to iron a lot of things out with the clothing line. When I had to go away a lot of stuff was just left in Dame’s hands and he made a lot of decisions with the clothing line that I wouldn’t make. Right now I’m trying to straighten out a lot of business so I can get the clothing line back how it should Will the clothing line still be called State Property?Beanie Sigel: If we can’t iron out the situation I’ma just move on to a new situation. What’s about the cartoon you were working?Beanie Sigel: Yeah, The Playpen. I’m still trying to push that. The people I had working on the cartoon they made a lot of decisions on what they thought that I would want to happen and a lot of things got screwed up. I’m still in that process of fixing a lot of things. People took it upon theyself [sic] to do a lot of things, to make a lot of decisions that wasn’t It seems like you gotta…Beanie Sigel: Start all over. That’s what this is. That’s how I’m working right now, like this is my first album, coming out, starting all over One line you said on the album was, “Gonna learn that I was more than a gun and a song." You saying you’ve been misunderstood?Beanie Sigel: Yeah, I’m more than a gun and a song. You can’t just judge a person by the media nowadays or what you read because nowadays good news is no news. There’s a lot of good going on that you don’t hear about, cause it’s not exciting. That’s why they got magazines and tabloids, it’s gossip. A lot of people just think that’s what it is. They look at the movies, people who don’t know me, Who’s Beanie Sigel, they look at State Property and they be like, Oh that’s him. I’m stuck with that character. [mimicking a scared voice] I wanted to say something but I was scared, cause in State Property you looked…But this is not State Property, this is real life. You ever wonder if what if instead of rolling with the Roc you had rolled with The Roots?Beanie Sigel: No, I ain’t never think about that. Umm hmm [Note: Sigel asks, "What you think?" to his associate, who says, "Roots fans wouldn’t have been ready for him."] I don’t think we would have complimented each other, at the time.Actually them vocals on “Adrenaline”, I probably recorded that maybe a year prior to me even meeting Jay-Z. Me and Tariq [Black Thought], we grew up together. Actually that was my first rhyming partner in elementary school. Me and Malik B, we was real tight so I went with him down to the studio one time. When I recorded it, I wasn’t even thinking about being a rapper. It was just something that I knew how to do. So I went down there with him, we was in there f*cking around. Scott Storch was playing for them at the time so he was just playing around, bullsh*tting on the keyboard and he had made the little beat or whatever, he just was f*cking around. Malik kept telling me go ahead record, I’m like, "Nah man, I ain’t doing that sh*t." So they had a couple of raps that I had did that day cause we was just in there bullsh*tting around [but] they recorded it. Then when I got signed with Roc-a-Fella, I had put out a mixtape. I was just putting joints out in the street, they had called and said, "Yo, what you going to do with that verse you had did on the jawn?" So I came down to the studio and they had my vocals from back then and I ain’t know what they was talking about at first. So when I came down and I heard it, I ain’t even remember that sh*t. I had to keep listening to it and I went in there and re-did it over for them. They was like "Yo, we want this verse right here, the same way you did it, cause it wasn’t even a full beat [originally]. That’s how that song What’s the status of you and Kanye West?Beanie Sigel: I ain’t go no problem with nobody. I don’t want no trouble. [coyly] Think you would ever get another track from Kanye West?Beanie Sigel: If he do it. I believe Has it been a struggle not compromise your music, it seems like you’ve had the luxury of doing what you want to do. Beanie Sigel: I always did my music the way I want. I’ve made a couple of records that I wouldn’t have Like what?Beanie Sigel: [laughing] I ain’t going to do that cause it’s going to sound crazy. It’s a couple of records that I wouldn’t have did that I was talked into. "Alright, I’ma try it." [But], I ain’t never going to compromise my music because that means I’m compromising myself. I can only give you what I got. I think I make good music man. The first single "All Of The Above" with R. Kelly opens you to new fans. But isn’t he suing Jay-Z?Beanie Sigel: I don’t know nothing about that. So there was never any static from the label for his participation?Beanie Sigel: No, it was a business decision. It wasn’t, "I’m doing this against Jay-Z." If he was, get some of that money back through the song. It’ll pan out in the end. It was a decision that I made for the song just to capture a couple of people who may not know Beanie Sigel. The song was a crazy song and I think R. Kelly just took it do a different level of music that I never would do on my own. Whether it had been R. Kelly or whoever. Did you consider anyone else?Beanie Sigel: I considered Akon for the song and I was going to go with Akon but he was on tour. We tried to reach out to T-Pain too and couldn’t track him down; he was doing so much. Me, I ain’t want to get caught into that—I’ma use T-Pain cause he’s winning right now. I don’t do that. What’s your take on Gilly and Cassidy’s beef. They squashed but what’s the vibe in Philly as far as animosity between rappers?Beanie Sigel: I don’t know, it was some words between them about who was the King out of them two, who was the king of Philly. And a lot of people say Beanie Sigel is the King of Philly...Beanie Sigel: I’m never going to be the self-proclaimed, I ain’t going to do that. I’ll let the public decide what that is. And it ain’t no disrespect to my city but what I got to give is bigger than just Philly. I don’t want to be just the king of Philly. That’s been there done that. I’m trying to take over something else. You can fit Philly inside of Brooklyn. It’s a lot of big things that come out of that small place as far as history. Back in the day they put they thing down for people to move out and take over different spots, from what I learned. It’s bigger than just here. We got to take this thing across the globe with it. So I’ma take my game across the world. You hit the scene when commercial rap music was making a lot of money but you kept underground sensibilities and had strong sales, are you worried about continues success in today’s climate?Beanie Sigel: To be honest, I ain’t know nothing about none of that when I first started rapping. Commercial, that’s a small advertisement campaign on TV. I ain’t know nothing about all that, crossing over, I was just doing what I was doing. That’s what I continue to do. What’s your take on the Hip-Hop Cops?Beanie Sigel: I think it’s a waste of time as far as just targeting rappers. I mean it’s crazy. That’s like having NBA cops, or NFL cops. Same thing. It's people in all aspects of business that do things or whatever, so if you going to do one, you got to do them all. Don’t just target Hip-Hop. People got to realize, people is people. No matter what they occupation is or whatever. To me a visual is more [impactful] than just hearing something. If you hear about something that one thing, but when you see it…like Hollywood makes movies that do this stuff all day. It’s the parents jobs to keep their kids in order with what they consume. I think that Hip-Hop Police sh*t is wack. If you got the Biggie role how would you prepare for it?Beanie Sigel: I don’t know if I want to say this and people run with it before I get it. But I’ll go one hundred percent at it. I’ll do a lot of studying as far as every little thing. I ain’t telling these ni**as what I’d do, so they can run and do that sh*t man, I need that. You got a song with Styles P on The Solution, when you were beefing with Jadakiss and the rest of the Lox was it ever really that serious?Beanie Sigel: Nah, cause me and Jadakiss had saw each other and we even talked about it like, "What’s up?" And then I was like "[Let’s] keep it going." Cause steel sharpen steel. You only as good as what you go up against. I once read that you can’t judge a man by who his friends is, but who his enemies are. They said you can’t judge the weight of a man, actually, by who his friends is, but by who his enemy is. Who he going up against? Who he beefing with? That’s how you judge the weight of a man.