Beanie Sigel - The Solution

Posted December 13, 2007
Tags: Beanie Sigel,

As the year blazes to a finish it’s become clear that 2007 has been one of the craziest years...

The Solution Album Review

As the year blazes to a finish it’s become clear that 2007 has been one of the craziest years in hip-hop history. I don’t mean crazy in a “so dope I can’t describe it” kind of way, more like in the “bust out the straight jacket and white walls” sense. If Beanie Sigel’s new album was the only one to feature an MC talking to himself we could say Beans has lost his marbles and move on, but the Broad Street Bully is in good company: T.I., Cassidy and Styles P (just to name a few) all made their split personalities the focus of their albums. Now I’ve got this theory about how rappers are subtly rebelling against an industry that only allows them to be one thing; gangster or lover, paper-chaser or backpacker, but that’s probably just me being paranoid...right?

Beanie’s latest release The Solution could have easily been more mentally unstable. In the past few years the always temperamental MC has seen killings, jail time and the breakup of his label/family Roc-A-Fella, but against all odds the man’s put together a well-crafted album. The Solution doesn’t sound like the work of a crazed man, it sounds the work of three almost entirely different rappers. Now Beanie didn’t literally split his long-awaited release into sections, but he might as well have. Allow me.

Cash Rules Everything Around Beans

Beanie isn’t the first artist you hear on The Solution, that honor would go to R. Kelly. That’s right, one of Philly’s most vicious street rappers started his album off with All Of The Above, a Pied Piper endorsed track with a Runners beat that’s as deep as the shallow end of a kiddie pool. I was expecting “watch the f**k out I’m back”, and instead I got “billionaire boys club.” You know what, I’m going to pretend like All of the Above never happened. Problem solved. That doesn’t mean that given the right track Sigel can’t pop bottles with the best of em. What They Gonna Say To Me’s stripped down production style works much better and Bean’s voice is so tough he makes a Rihanna reference sound hard. Surpsingly the weakest part of Gutted is a mailed-in Jay-Z verse. So why did Beanie devote the first third of his album to flossing? Because it takes money to make money, isn't that the Roc motto?

L.L. Cool Beanie (Ladies Love Cool Bean)

It’s easy to see why Beanie’s mind is on the booty, there’s not exactly a lot of feminine company in prison. I’m In features sparkling 70’s style production while Beanie showcases a flow that’s smooth but never soft. Lines like “I f***ed that b**** six times” won’t exactly win him Don Juan status, but when he’s in the mood Beanie can spit game with the best of them. Beanie brings a full squad with him on Pass The Patron, a stripper inspired track that bumps courtesy of Rockwilder’s drum-heavy production. Beanie’s booty-centered flow is accompanied by the fine work of Ghostface and Peedi Peedi, hell they even let Diddy tag along (who’s now passed the Courvoisier and the Patron). Personally I'll pass on Pass The Patron, but I can never stand between a man and his woman…I mean women.

Beanie Sigel, man of violence and faith

The last third of The Solution is where things really get interesting. On Judgment Day Beanie raps over an essentially unchanged version of Black Sabbath’s classic heavy-metal song War Pigs, and he absolutely crushes the track. The aren’t many rappers who could rhyme that hard and still stay lyrical, Judgment Day makes Beanie one of them. From a musical standpoint the soulful Rain is a completely different song, but the subject matter’s the same; finding the strength to persevere through pain. Beanie pours out his soul over a quietly storming beat, Scarface backs him with a painfully honest verse, and singer Raheem DeVaughn shows the hype’s deserved with some moving vocals. I literally can’t comprehend how this track is on the same album as All Of The Above, and that’s the essential paradox of The Solution. Beanie’s too complicated a man to be boxed in, and he’s talented enough to make any style work, but only one of his many sides is apparently capable of making a classic album. In an era where rappers are suffering from industry-wide nervous breakdowns Beanie Sigel is hard at work on a cure, he just hasn’t found the solution yet.

DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins

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Posted December 13, 2007
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