Beanie Sigel just can’t catch a break. The Philly rhyme legend was arrested for gun & drug possession weeks before he was supposed to report to prison on tax charges. It was the latest in a series of legal run-ins for the artist who was once the lyrical anchor of Roc-A-Fella Records. Long before he made blog headlines for taking shots at his former friend and boss Jay-Z, Dwight Grant WAS the labels resident bad guy and walking pass to Any Hood USA.
While Kanye waved the banner for all things art and Jay struggled with talks of retirement Beans albums The Truth, The Reason and even The Solution that kept the house that Jay built solidified on the street side, providing the kind of grit and real talk that kept the blocks buzzing.
But he never could leave the street life behind and did one bid in 2004 and another in 2008 (although it was just a halfway house) putting a strain on his career. Since leaving Roc-A-Fella Beans has released four independent projects, including his latest This Time. A standout track on the new album is “The Reunion” a long-overdue gathering of his State Property crew which only makes fans wonder what could have been.
The Urban Daily managed to catch up with the Broad Street Bully before the boys in blue did to talk about reuniting with his new album, reuniting with his old crew and whether he can see the original Roc-A-Fella millionaires getting back together.
TUD: How’s it feel to have another project out after all this time?
Beanie Sigel: I think I’m at my best with my back against the wall. I just stay true to Sigel you know? I wouldn’t change up.
With all the competition in your lane and the way the games changed up, do you feel you’ve grown with the times at all?
I’m gonna do me regardless. No matter what people perceive to be what’s now, my music is and always continues to be honest. I think that’s why my fans gravitate to my music. A lot of albums today, if you hear one or two songs you heard ‘em all. When you listen to mine, you get the full package. You not just hearing the big club records or songs about how many Maybachs you got and how much champagne you pop. With me it’s always real.
Ok, we have your feelings as an artist. What about as a businessman? What is the status on State Property?
I got projects on the table that I can’t talk about. I’m waiting for a few things to come into fruition but I always try to do more than just music. I don’t think I know nobody who came into the business and accomplished the goals that I accomplished in such a short period of time with the least amount of records that I sold. For me to come out as a gold artist, I did a lot of things a lot of platinum artist can’t beat. I started a whole brand, a whole movement a culture. I was able to make movies that were successful. I could sell clothes because people believed in the State Property movement.
So does the new track, “The Reunion” and video mean there’s a full State Property album on the way?
Oh most definitely! Everybody in State Property still talk to each other everyday. Everybody just doing their solo thing trying to spread their wings but every time we get together we always bring magic, so the people will definitely get another SP album.
That’s good to hear, I think your true fans would like to see you finish what you started. Or at least continue it. You had the making of a great empire and then there was a lull in the action…
That was by choice though. After a while, there’s a difference between Beanie Sigel and Dwight Grant. Being Beanie Sigel, I wore a lot of hats but I wanted to just be regular. I missed out on a lot of important things. Like if you listen to the B. Coming album, I said: “I was blessed with this gift I was cursed with/But you feel like shit when you miss your sons first shit/But who’s gone pay the bills, supply the meals…” You know? I was blessed to be able to do the music and take care of my family and give other people opportunities to take care of their families. But in the process of doing that, I’m missing family things like seeing my son ride his bike for the first time or take his first steps. I just wanted to be regular for a minute.
Now the goal is to get back the momentum you had. How difficult do you see that being?
Not difficult at all. Even at the height of my game I always stayed grounded and connected with the people in the streets and I think that’s where everything starts. It starts from the concrete and then it’s a domino effect, everybody else catches on. As long as I stay in tune with the streets, the urban community and the have-nots…. that’s who I make my music for. Everybody don’t know what it is to have a black card or a Maybach or being able to pop bottles and things like that so you don’t hear that in my music a lot, you hear heart-felt music, everyday troubles and everyday situations. So I think that’s why people gravitate to my music, they feel in tune with me. They can listen to one of my songs and be like “Yo, I know what he’s talking about because I’m going through it now.” Especially in the era we in right now. This ain’t a recession, it’s a depression.
So do you think Rick Ross is doing it wrong? Whips, chips and champagne are his lane all day…
Oh no I’m rooting for Rick Ross right now! I’m loving his success especially for the way he recognize the talent in Philly by picking up Meek. I’m behind Ross and the way he’s moving 100%. I don’t have a problem with luxury rap at all, it’s that I don’t glorify just that. I had three Bentleys, things like that are just trophies of accomplishment. But to me that’s not what life is about. I acquired the Bentleys, and Benzes but I kept mine in the neighborhood. It wasn’t nothing to see Beanie come through in a Bentley down the little streets scraping the rims on the curb. Or see one of my friends who probably didn’t even have a license behind the wheel!
Lets talk friends. You deaded your beef with Jay-Z, you haven’t mentioned Dame but you did say State Property is on the way. What are the chances of a full-fledged Roc-A-Fella reunion?
I think that would be the best thing for Hip-Hop ever. I don’t think there ever was a team better than Roc-A-Fella Records. Jay, Dame, Bleek and Biggs…. I think that would be the best story in Hip-Hop ever.
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Watch the video for “The Reunion” from Beanie Sigel’s new album, This Time, in stores now.