Beanie Sigel : The Reason

Jay-Z protégé excellent second LP

While the world wets itself over cute new rap stars like Nelly and Ludacris and their good-time Southern raps, there’s a formidable dark force rising from the East Coast.

Philadelphia native Beanie Sigel didn’t even have to make a demo before his record company boss Jay-Z 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”[/I] before warning any budding protagonists, [I]”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”[/I].

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 Snoop’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, Jay-Z, Daz, Kurupt and Scarface dropping skills, and you’ve got one of the best hardcore rap records of the year 2001.

Andy Capper