Not to sound corrosive, but it came as no surprise when the news came through that Beanie Sigel was going to the slammer after his third album release, entitled The B. Coming. His music record boasted his track record on the streets, yet it still hit as a harsh reality that he had to do time even as a recording artist with a legitimate profession.
Getting back on his rapping grind, the Broad Street Bully returns from this to reveal The Solution. He may have had something different in mind this time around, because he brings no previous producers from The B. Coming back.
The album bounces off with a Runners track featuring R&B’s infamous R. Kelly on the first single “All of the Above.” Stating that nothing has changed in the past couple years, Beanie raps “Mr. beat the case is back / Got acquitted stitch fitted in a gangster hat / Now I’m back sick wit it with this gangster rap / Let’s get it where my gangsters at.”
The gritty bass-bangin’ on “Get Low” gives weight to the melodic echo of Rock City’s hook. However, the lyrics sound close to regurgitated similes with lines like “I’m what the games been lackin’ / Like Joe no Jacksons / Like Kobe no Shaq / Like James no Magic” and “I just drop it and spin it, the water stick to it / Everyday I’m hustlin’, pushin’ harder than Rick do it / I keep a cannon like Nick do it.”
Thankfully, it is immediately followed by the strongest track of the album, “Gutted.” The catchy hook keeps Sigel stuntin’, rapping “You talking about that bread but your bread ain’t buttered / You talking ace of spades but you ballin’ on a budget,” with the stabs of “gutted” thrown at the fakers and wannabes. Jay-Z’s verse falls a bit short of exceptional, but his laid back presence gives the track a push and pull effect that works.
Hova is not the only legend Beanie grabs for the album. On “Rain (Bridge),” the listener is welcomed by the icon himself, Scarface. Beanie lends a hand to the street soldiers behind bars, which he himself has had to cope with in the past. Not soft enough to call it touching, but it is humble enough to see the Broad Street Bully’s family-giving side. Reefa also comes correct on the production giving him a perfect score on the album.
It’s almost as if Beanie Sigel was channeling his Scarface rendition in the album-ending record “Prayer.” His rugged voice turns sorrowful, and his lyrics sound more grateful and preacher-like. It’s disappointing to see his growth as a rapper finally show up this late in the album, rhyming “Never leave thee astray / Cause I know I can’t walk this alone / I’m in fear of that fork in the road / The devil there waiting to claim my soul / So I pray that you hold my hand / As I follow your footprints in the sand.” Raheem DeVaughn’s soulful chorus gives “Prayer” the extra boost in stamina to finish off The Solution, no small task to complete.
If Beanie Sigel felt he was going to reveal a startling revelation through his music with The Solution, he fell short of a plan to catapult his designs into action. We could give him credit for staying in the game amidst criminal charges. We could credit his slight consistency with four albums in seven years. Does his music justify his thug? Of course it does. But will it have listeners running to the record store after hearing the leak? I guess 3 out of 4 ain’t bad for the Roc-A-Fella team in 2007.
Track-by-Track Rating: 7/0