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Beanie Sigel: The B.Coming

Beanie Sigel: The B.Coming

Label:Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam
Release Date:2005
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap

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By Al Shipley | Posted 5/18/2005

“Look At Me Now,” the last non-bonus track on Beanie Sigel’s third album, The B. Coming, is a statement of perseverance and triumph, surveying the music, film, and clothing empire the respected Philadelphia rapper has created without ever going platinum or achieving mass appeal. But it’s hard not to look at him instead as he’s depicted on the cover: behind bars. Recorded while under house arrest and released while incarcerated, The B. Coming comes with a dramatic backstory, but the circumstances surrounding it aren’t integral to appreciating its music. After all, Sigel’s lyrics have always been full of desperation and paranoia, and are simply too good to be sold on controversy alone.

As a flagship artist of Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, Sigel never strays far from the label’s roster and in-house production aesthetic, lacing the tracks with bombastic soul samples and guest verses from label mates and members of his Philly supergroup State Property. But the air of familiarity around the music puts the focus firmly on Sigel, whose voice sounds both wearier and more authoritative than ever. Occasionally he’s upstaged, particularly on “Gotta Have It,” by both Peedi Crakk’s frantic charisma and Chad Hamilton’s pounding, swinging drums. But the more surprising cameos act merely as Sigel’s supporting cast. Brand Nubian’s Grand Puba and Sadat X nearly blend into Just Blaze’s chattering samples on “Bread and Butter,” and even “Don’t Stop,” an up-tempo collaboration with Snoop Dogg and the Neptunes, can’t break the album’s somber mood. It’s also one of the only moments where Sigel looks forward, to the day when he’s done serving his sentence.

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