I don't rap, I talk shit. It just so happens that it rhymes.
Beanie Sigel: Been There, Done That
Rap as a genre developed thanks largely to numerous MCs who talk about living life on the streets and dealing with crime and poverty. Beanie Sigel is among the ranks of such MCs; his meteoric rise due mostly to his realistic content, no-nonsense lyrics paired with wordplay, a combination that caught the attention of some of the industry's heavyweights.
Unlike most other artists trying to get into the mainstream music industry, Sigel got into the mainstream rap scene without sending in even a single audition tape - a fact that he is proud of. His big break came in The Roots' 1999 album Things Fall Apart, where he contributed to the track Adrenaline!. Within a year, a surprise encounter with Jay-Z landed him his first mainstream record deal under Roc-a-Fella Records.
Beanie Sigel from Philly
One album and two track collaborations later, Beanie Sigel released his debut solo album The Truth in 2000, earning him certified Gold status and three singles into the hit charts of the year. More collaborations were in line with him for artists like Tha Dogg Pound and Sisqo before releasing The Reason in 2001. Higher profile appearances with other artists followed, most notably Nelly for Roc the Mic (Remix) on Nellyville from 2002.
Music, however, was not Sigel's only foray. In 2002, he topbilled in State Property, a film produced by Dame Dash and starring mostly other talents from Roc-a-Fella. The movie's release coincided with the debut of State Property, a group of Philadelphia talents which Sigel helped organize, for the film's soundtrack. State Property went on to release The Chain Gang Vol. 2 in 2003, for which it earned a Grammy nomination.
A federal weapons charge in 2004 got Beanie Sigel into prison for a full year and a day. Before he served his sentence, however, he was able to finish his third album, The B. Coming, which would be released the following year.
Beanie Sigel: Not Smooth Sailing
Prison was only to be the start of Sigel's troubles. The new presidency of Jay-Z at Def Jam records resulted in Damon Dash and Kareem Burke striking out on their own as the Dame Dash Music Group (DDMG). And although B. Coming was produced by a roster of talents from both Def Jam and DDMG, the album was released in 2005 by the latter. Later that year, Sigel went into talks with Roc-a-Fella to discuss his move to DDMG.
After his release, Sigel was visibly present at Jay-Z's 2005 I Declare War concert, after which he signed back on to Rock-a-Fella. A string of collaborations and appearances with other artists followed, to be interrupted by a robbery attempt in 2006 which put Sigel in the hospital with a shot arm. Upon leaving the hospital bed, he promptly went back to work to release The Solution in 2007, a commercial flop that sold a fraction of the figures from his earlier works.
In 2008, after a list of artists was dropped from Roc-a-Fella, Sigel released statements that pointed a finger of blame at Jay-Z for the lack of success of The Solution. That same year, Sigel went off the music scene radar altogether, only cropping up on March 27 due to a prison sentence for probation violations.
Beanie Sigel on Another Road
October 30 the following year saw Sigel release a single track, What You Talkin' 'Bout, where he told about how Dame Dash and Jay-Z treated him while he was under their wings. A subsequent radio interview in Philadelphia had a Sigel explaining the cause of the conflict with Jay-Z in even more depth, although he claimed that there was still love between them. Sigel says his next album The Closure, due to be released by 50 Cent's G-Unit Records in 2009, is meant to close the period he spent at Roc-a-Fella.
Did you know that...
- ...Sigel got to work on Adrenaline! because he tagged along to one of The Roots' weekly practice sessions in Philadelphia?
- ...the beat from the intro of Jay-Z's The Blueprint 3 was used in Sigel's What You Talkin' 'Bout? It was the same track where he let off steam about Jay-Z.
- ...it wasn't the only time Sigel slammed Jay-Z? I Go Off, a collaboration with 50 Cent, called out even more faults of the Def Jam president.