his is it: the return of emo-rap. I can’t say I saw it coming from Philadelphia’s most recent parolee, but the biggest surprises come from the most unlikely of sources. This jailhouse Roc member has been through various struggles in the past couple years and while he doesn’t extol the virtues of the shank or express his distaste for bottom bunks, his comeback record The B-Coming is an involved, emotive, fully-composed piece of work, much more than, say, Slick Rick’s Behind Bars.
Although in this case, Beanie can appear in his videos and perform at his album release party. Mr. Mack (Bitch) is in between bids, looking to fight aggravated assault and attempted murder charges. So in many ways, this could possibly be the last cohesive piece to come from the Broad Street Bully for a long while. So if his fault can be indicated by the desire to succeed, Beanie is audibly, doubtlessly guilty.
The strongest point on the album is the least topical, a breezy, translucent bongo blast from the Neps called “Don’t Stop” that features Snoop Dogg on the hook and the ghost of Christopher Wallace doing the Body Snatchers thing with our hero Dwight. Invocation, be damned: how can the torch be passed (“I said I’m sicker than your average / Keep three shooters like the Mavericks / Short to the point like Nash is, fuckin’ with a savage / Niggas press they luck, get bucked like ashes”) so late after the funeral?
Then again, none of this is openly club-accessible. But Beanie has never been a club killer, even when he tried to be (“Beanie (Mack Bitch)”) and he definitely plays to his strengths this time around, with myriad somber cuts about the nature of love (“It’s Mack, Daddy, not your Daddy Mack / Bitch, you got it Kriss Krossed, scrap, I ain’t havin’ that”) and the addictive properties of cough syrup (“Purple Haze”).
If you look at the composition behind this record (stress, mounting career pressure, mostly lower profile producers), you’d be hard-pressed to find a closer successor to The Blueprint. It lags in the later parts and depends on too many guests, but overall, songs like “I Gotta Have It” and “Bread And Butter” have the makings of modern classics, testaments that will withstand any period of jail time accumulated. One of the strongest albums of 2005, Beanie Sigel stands among the greatest of the Roc-A-Fella catalogue with technical ability and an emotional severity worth experiencing.
Reviewed by: Rollie Pemberton
Reviewed on: 2005-05-10