#21. Beanie Sigel, The Truth (2000)
Other works include: The Reason, The Solution
Jonathan Mannion: “Beanie Sigel is sort of like Rick Ross, in that the people that you wouldn’t think are incredible to shoot have the biggest character. Sometimes shooting someone people believe to be this crazy sex symbol can be so painful, and then there’s people who really know what they’re about, and it’s effortless. Beanie Sigel is one of those people.
“I love the vibe of Philly, and I get it. I think that’s why we got along. That, and the fact that there’s so much range to his character. Despite being this street-hustler, hood cat, there’s such honor in how he moves and how he looks out for and involves his kids and his people.
“We did three or four albums together, but this album was really important for him. The Truthwas really establishing who Beanie Sigel was. He was just entering the league, and he didn’t care. He was a beast.
I even got this crazy shot of him with an AK in a back alley. We took it there a number of different times.
“I remember taking chances and being out on the block with him. He was walking me down memory lane, showing me where he had his first fight, in this pit down by where he went to grade school.
“I wanted to recreate it and showcase things that he can look back at and say, ‘Yup. That was me, in that moment in time.’ because it’s never going to be the same. I even got this crazy shot of him with an AK in a back alley. We took it there a number of different times.
“One time, we were at the Philadelphia City Hall building, and he took out a Sharpie marker and wrote, ‘The Broad Street Bully’ on the wall, facing south. This is a historic building, with security guards walking all through it. So every time a security guard would pass us, Beanie would stand in front of it, nod, and say things like, ‘Thanks so much, man. Really happy to be here.’
“We had to get permits to be there, so they had my name and everything, and I thought I was going to get charged out the ass. Somehow, we got away with it, but I always respected the fact that he took it there.
“We really connected. These images were important to him, and they’re some of my favorites.”