Beanie Sigel: Courage Under Fire
On "Before The Solution" off of DJ Khaleds We The Best album, Sigel gives insight to his current situation and drums up heavy support for the new album. But today is a different day and Grant is calm, collected and serene-sounding. The Broad Street Bully is indeed calculating his next step and as he sits down with HipHopDX he speaks on Jay-Zs blueprint for advice, how the community needs to stand up to stop its increasing murder rates and why America will always be afraid of Hip Hops power.
HipHopDX: How does this new album help you put your past behind you?
Beanie Sigel: Honestly, I dont know about this album putting my past behind me. With recording and finally being back in the studio, it only helps me go forward. When I make my music, it comes from the heart. Its life, its my feeling so the good and the bad are always there. My past and present make up my music because the future isnt promised, so all of what goes on in my life is relevant.
DX: Can you escape that with everyone wanting to know thats been going on in your life?
BS: Thats good that they want to know. Knowing that that curiosity is that means that I can make that other album. People are always going to wonder if Im going to explain those other situations. I dont answer questions directly. You might be able to find things in my music to give people a different look in at a few situations. People may want to know what I do on my off day. Like I said earlier, my past is always relevant with my present situation and I want to continue to give the people stories about my life. When people buy albums theyre buying into that life that Im living which ties into their life and its all relevant.
DX: Did Jays line about, I ain't tryin to change you/Just give you some game/To make the transition/From the street to the fame, stick with you when you wrote Bravery?
BS: I always think about that. I think that that was one of the realest things that Jay could ever say to me. It was real. It wasnt just a cool line to say, it was real. From conversations that we had, I understood what he meant. Bravery just came from me being in my situations and my past is always relevant. So, Im answering a question without getting too in-depth about it. There are some people in this world where everyone thinks that hes a nut, but he just thinks that hes just a regular dude. They push that fuck it button and it be on stuck. [Laughs] But that isnt me. It took a lot of heart to air out your own dirty laundry. That helped me a lot.
DX: So, in all this time, how have you matured?
BS: I was 23, Im  now. I got more responsibility; I got kids to raise, as well as the people who I take care of. So, there has to be some maturity in there. Raising children to me is more than just doing so financially. Im teaching them life lessons, homework, you know what I mean? Im a man with my responsibility.
DX: What do you think about Hip Hop, right now?
BS: I think that Hip Hop is expanding, but as far as it maturing, its at an adolescent stage, still. Hip Hop is just about partying and having fun right now. But before, you had the consciousness involved that was rapping about worldly issues and things that would happen in your own neighborhood. Right now, its about having fun and its a big party. Theres nothing wrong with it, but you have to have some relevance to it. I think that its expanding; theres more people and more opportunities to make money, but as maturity-wise, thats kind of a tricky question to answer.
DX: Philly seems to be really wild, right now. Do you think your growth could provide a solution for the violence?
BS: It aint nothing to do with me it starts off in the family structure. You have a young city in an uproar. If you look at the violence, its coming from the young kids. Its not from them listening to the music; you have children who are forced to be parents at a young age. Their fathers are locked up, while their mothers are running to this man, to this man and shes having babies. When that family structure is not in tact, you have children forced to be adults at a young age. You have 12, 13-year-old boys who have to fend for themselves to have the right pair of sneakers. He cant go to mom and dad for that, so he has to make a way. When I was 12, my mom supported us. She bought the sneaks and all that. But I was going out and doing my thing at 14. Theyre 10, 11-years-old doing things that men do females, too! Theyre doing things that women do as far as selling their body and what not. I dont think that its on me as a person, but I think it starts from the household. We need more things for these kids to do! The opportunities are getting less and less. Theyre buying up houses and raising the taxes and whatnot. Its tricky and when they realize that they got tricked, theyre scrambling to make that next move. Right now, they aint doing nothing but trying to give the projects a facelift and its not changing anyones situations. Its still hard out there.
DX: The past few years a lot of cats have really been on that back-and-forth trash talk tip. What do you have in the chamber for those whove been trying to come at Jay or anyone in your camp?
BS: I just do what I do as far as musically. Thats what I do. Im a competitive person on any level, so Im coming hard. In my past, my reputation speaks for itself. I dont worry about me. I know that if people want to take it there, they are going to be in for a long walk.
DX: What have you seen as one of the most interesting changes to occur in Hip Hop and how does it affect the type of music you want to make?
BS: I am always going to make my music the way that I am. I am true to myself so my music will be that. So, my music is always going to be relevant because I give people real life. Youre going to have all kinds of music on my album and Im going to give em that.
DX: You said, I come from high school and went straight to the league. How do you feel about the upcoming rookies in the game, now?
BS: When I first said that, I was still on the block. I didnt go through the mixtape circuit, talent shows or none of that. I was fresh of the block. As far as the rookies in the game, I think that Hip Hop is in a state of adolescence. Everyone is partying. Everyone is making them songs in the clubs. There arent that many people who are making relevant music. Theyre just in one lane. My talent is one where I can go in any lane and make that hot song.
DX: So right now, who are you feeling?
BS: I cant really call [Lil] Wayne a rookie, but I like him and I like T.I., Plies and [Young] Jeezy. Im feeling them.
DX: Hip Hop has always been under fire, but now theyre trying to label it to everything that goes wrong in America. What do you think is Americas agenda against Hip Hop?
BS: They want to control it. They want to stop these young black people from making this money and taking over their neighborhoods. Were making that money that high society is making and having fun while were making it. Were not going through the eight years of college to get it. They [America] gets by on a lot of things and were making that money, living right down the street from them and they think that were invading their space. We got their kids listening to our music. They want to walk, talk and live like us. Theyre like, Hold up! You cant blame that control thing on Hip Hop. Its an outlet. Its the new NBA for black kids. Every year, you got a new artist out whether they got they own shit, they rappers, whatever they doing it. Were taking this music as the number one marketing tool in America. You got people like Jay-Z and Nelly investing in the basketball teams. Shit, theyre scared of that. They dont want that. They dont want Jay, [Master] P and them who really got that paper to get together. If these guys ever get together, man, just imagine this You have all those teams and you got these young guys coming into the league. Now, theyre drafted and all that. If you think that Jay-Z, Puff or whoever is in this music business were to get a basketball team who do you think Lebron [James] would want to play for? Theyre going to want to go to team thats poppin, that reflects them as players in the offices. If Jay had his own team, Bron wouldve played for Jay, just because. If they get together and own a team, together, well have all the players. Theyre going to want to come and play for that type of team. That power scares people.
DX: With Nas new album called causing a stir. Will that word ever not be associated with black folks?
BS: Nah, man. Its been too long; you know what Im saying?! That word aint going anywhere. When they [Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton] were young, it was a negative thing to be called that. But weve been called that for so long that we call ourselves that and it dont mean anything to us now. For example, Im from Philly, when I heard people call me son, when I went to New York, I didnt know what it meant. I thought that it was offensive. But I heard it so much that its not that anymore. It doesnt hold that meaning to me anymore. You had white folks calling us nigger, nigger, nigger to the point where we didnt care about that anymore. You dont have white folks calling us that anymore directly to degrade us like back in the day. But I can see why they take it as offensive but to us its just another word.