Beanie Sigel ought to be celebrating the release of his six studio album, This Time, but instead, he's sitting in jail cell right now. Philadelphia's ABC News is reporting that Beans was arrested yet again early this morning after a traffic stop. Police found $4,650 in cash, codeine syrup, prescription pills, and a handgun in Sigel's car. If that wasn't bad enough, Sigel is already headed to jail for two years for tax evasion.
Last week, we caught up with The Broad Street Bully while he was sitting comfortably in his NYC hotel room. Sigel has been in this position before—he was rotting in a jail cell when his underrated 2005 album, The B. Coming, was released. Maybe that's why Sigel seemed at peace with his future and was already thinking about his plans post-prison (though he might need to think further into the future if these new charges stick). We spoke to him about how Def Jam handled his The B. Coming album, how fake rappers are ruining the game, and seeing a bit of himself in Meek Mill.
Interview by Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm)
So what’s new?
Pushing this project man, trying to push it to the fullest. I’m trying to promote it and give it the best of my time while I can. It’s no secret that I’m about to have to go away for a little while. Most people would shut everything down, which I’m about to do, and do the family thing because I think that’s more important than anything.
Tell me about your new album, This Time.
I just wanted to make good music. I wanted people to hear music. Every album sounds the same. Everyone is using the same producers and they got the same sound. They’re trying to follow the same thing that’s working for the next person. Everybody’s going right and I want to go totally left from everything. So I was constructed a little band, put together music, and got real musicians to make real music on this album.
As far as lyrics and content go, what do you have in store?
Everyday life. What I give you in all my albums, the current events that I see that’s going on and my world. Inspirational music. The track is called “This Time” and I think it’s going to be a big record. A lot of people are comparing that record to a “Feeling in the Air.” That type of record that when you hear it, it sends you on an emotional roller coaster because it’s like I’m talking directly to you. You can feel this music that I’m making.
You’ve been recently quoted as saying that you think a lot of new MCs are faking it.
The part that gets me is when you start advocating certain lifestyles that you’re portraying in your music and saying that this is what you do and this is what you’ve done. You’re advocating that and you’re motivating people to go that route that you never went before.
You giving them inspiration like, “He did it and he was successful and look at him, he’s a big rapper, I’ma go out and I’ma cop me a brick or get a gun and rob a bank or I’m packed in my hand I ain’t playing with nobody, I’m going gangster with it.” But you never did that, that’s where the problem is coming in. You can make music and don’t have to be “gangster” or “the big drug dealer that turned into the rapper.” That’s becoming a fad now.
There are people that make good music, shoutout to 2 Chainz. He just makes good music, that feel good music that you want to party and dance to. He’s not professing to be a big time drug dealer or a big gangster. He’s all about his flavor, he’s just doing his one two and he’s just riding his wing.
Your album is going to drop and then you’ll have to go away for a couple of years. What’s that like?
I been there before. The B. Coming, that came out when I was incarcerated, too. It went gold with no promotion, nothing. I did seven videos in two days and only one got airtime, and that was “Feel it in the Air.”
Def Jam/Universal dropped the ball on that album. If I can go gold from sitting inside a jail cell, with no promotion or nothing, if they would have paid a little bit more attention to the album and seen what it was doing, then that could have been a platinum album.
There’s no telling what it could have been if I was out. They dropped the album about five months before I was released. I adamantly requested for the album not to be released, for it to be released on my release date so I can capitalize off of that album monetarily. But they just threw it to the wolves. When I came home, they admitted their mistake. They dropped the ball on that album.
How will things be different with this album?
Right now, I’m just filling my obligations with my team, they’ve been supporting me. EMI, they knew my situation before we came into this deal. They believed in my brand, believed in my music.
We had a plan that we thought that I wasn’t going to have to go in and things didn’t work out the way we wanted it to work out. But we prepared for it. They still believed in me and are going to support me when I come back. We are still going to have that relationship and we are going to do it again man. I’m like fine wine, I age better with time.
You mentioned 2 Chainz as a guy you’re feeling. What other artists are catching your attention right now?
I would have to give it to Rick Ross and Meek Mill. Maybe not the whole entire squad, but I just tip my hat to Ross for recognizing true talent coming out of Philly and picking up Meek. Watching him, it’s like me looking at myself all over again. He came in the game at the same age I did. He doing his thing and I’m loving it and just watching him do his thing. It gives me that vision like, “Yeah Meek do it.”
When you’re in the midst of doing something, you don’t get a chance to see what you was doing at the time because you so busy doing it. Unless you had a camera on you your whole career and then you sit down and look at the footage. But I can actually see him from where he was in his career and where he’s going right now. If Ross stay behind him, Meek will grow and he’ll have a little bit of longevity.
You talk about seeing yourself in Meek. What advice would you have given a younger you, or a rapper like yourself?
I tell him to stay on top of his business. At the end of the day, it’s fun when it lasts. Stay on top of your business and keep that first. It’s business first. I learned that the hard way. I got stuck with the concept of the “La familia.” The family. I had to learn there was a difference between family and relatives. So stay on top of your business. Take Biggie advice and fire lawyers to watch lawyers so you won’t go broke.
What’s the future after jail?
I’ma quote the Joker. "Wait until you get a load of me."
Speaking of the difference between family and relatives, do you ever regret that period of time when you were going at Jay-Z and hanging out with 50 Cent?
I never hung out with 50 Cent. 50 Cent presented an opportunity for me. I played 50 some music, he liked a couple records. There was a record that I did that didn’t have a hook and he jumped on the hook. We had a couple meetings, it didn’t pan out. We didn’t see eye to eye on what those meetings was about.
What about Jay?
Jay got a song on Reasonable Doubt where he says, “You gotta learn to live with regrets.” You can’t take it back. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a present. Unwrap it and enjoy the gift, man.