Beanie Sigel : The Reason

Jay-Z protégé and ex-crack dealer’s excellent second LP

While the world wets itself over cute new rap stars like [a]Nelly[/a]

and [a]Ludacris[/a]

and their good-time Southern raps, there’s a formidable dark force rising from the East Coast.

Ex-Philadelphia crack dealer Beanie Sigel didn’t even have to make a demo before his record company boss [a]Jay-Z[/a]

signed him up and put out his debut album ‘The Truth’ two years ago. So impressed was the Jiggaman with Beanie’s grimy, none-more-hardcore raps that he made him an integral part of his burgeoning Roc-A-Fella empire, along with Memphis Bleek. In fact, Bleek and Beanie are becoming something of an East Coast version of the West Coast Dogg Pound gangstas Kurupt and Daz; both sets of rappers possessing a telepathic ability to bounce rude rhymes off each other.

Thankfully, the transition from rock-chopping hoodlum to extremely successful recording artist hasn’t phased Beanie, aka Mack, aka Gooch, because with ‘The Reason’ he’s still as deadly and enthralling as ever – like the James Ellroy of rap.

On the deceptively-titled ‘I Don’t Do Much’, Beanie tells us how he gets [I]”papercuts from counting money” before warning any budding protagonists, “You don’t want me putting duct tape in your mouth/Better yet pouring lye in your mouth/You don’t want me smacking up your kids”.

It’s scary stuff.

Word from the Roc-A-Fella camp is that Beanie’s latest will be commercial because it’s so non-commercial, but that’s only partly true. With ‘Beanie (Mack Bitch)’ he’s taken the refrain from[a]Snoop Dogg[/a]’s ‘Murder Was The Case’ and made it his own with one of the darkest, catchiest signature tune raps for a while.

While the beats on this album are a little familiar, the attraction lies in Beanie’s captivating delivery and black humour. Take into account that you also get Memphis Bleek, [a]Jay-Z[/a] , Daz, Kurupt and Scarface dropping skills, and you’ve got one of the best hardcore rap records of the year 2001.

Andy Capper