BEANIE SIGEL, April 23, 2001

The 411 Online caught up with Beanie on the tail end of a full day of interviews promoting his sophomore album, The Reason.

So tell me about your new album. Your debut was well-received by critics and fans -- in fact, our reviewer called it a classic -- so how do you plan to top it?

"Wow, if The Truth was a classic, then I'm gonna have two classics on my hands. Pretty much. Cause on this album I really just gave 'em me. On The Truth there was a lot of songs that I put on the album that I really wasn't comfortable with, but I thought that people wanted that from me. Like, I did a song with Bleek -- we did that "Crew Love" thing -- where I flipped the Monopoly game. I was just doing something, you know what I mean? And I did that on my album with "Mac Man." I flipped up the games and all that. And I made songs like "Everybody Wanna Be A Star" -- just certain little issues and songs and stuff I was talking about that I normally wouldn't talk about, that wouldn't be me. Like "Mac Man," that wasn't me. That was an artist trying to give people what I thought they wanted from me. Like "What Your Life Like" was me. That was me. "What A Thug About" was me. "Ride 4 My N-----" was me. On this album, that's what you get. Beanie Sigel. I took it back to what got me signed, what made people want to listen to me. From the mix tape stuff. The best of Beanie before The Truth, before the album. And I just gave 'em raw beats and rhymes, man. I didn't really try to go in any direction with the album. I just followed up The Truth. There's always a Reason behind The Truth. If you play The Truth, then play The Reason back to back, it's like one album just going all the way through."

So that's where you're coming from with the title of the album? I thought maybe it was from that lyric off an old Jay-Z album, "I'm the reason Jay feels comfortable retiring."

"Nah. That's what came to my head. I had that name for the album before I was even working on it. I knew I wanted it to be called The Reason. You can't explain a miracle. I just decided on The Reason and it stuck and it just so happens that there's a Reason behind The Truth."

So do feel any pressure because of all that's been said about you being the heir to the Roc-A-Fella empire?

"I feel no pressure cause if I felt the pressure I wouldn't do what I do. It's like when before The Truth came out, I was hearing that I was supposedly the next 'this one' the next 'that one' and being compared to the illest rappers out there. To be compared to people like Nas, 2Pac, Biggie Smalls, that's crazy. And Jay even. There's really no pressure cause I'm gonna do me. I'll leave it up to the people to decide."

So do you have some guests on the album?

"I got the same chemistry as The Truth. I got the Roc-A-Fella family. I got Scarface again. Nobody else."

So what's with these rumors about Daz being added to the Roc-A-Fella family?

"I don't know about that. That's the second time I heard that."

Coming up in Philly, who were your influences? Who did you listen to? Any of the early local artists, like Schooly D?

"I didn't really listen to the mainstream rap artists that were out in Philly. I mean everybody liked the "P.S.K." That was the one song. "Gucci Time" from Schooly. Other than that, people just had songs. It wasn't like albums out that you'd cop someone's album. I was listening to albums like the Geto Boys, Scarface, N.W.A, Kool G. Rap. That's what I was listening to."

Do you have a favorite track that you've appeared on?

"Every time I get on a track. Just being on any track."

Let me get political on you for a minute. The NYPD came out recently and said that they were actually targeting hip-hop artists based on what the subject matter of their rhymes. Basically they were trying to justify it by saying that criminal activity is talked about in the lyrics. Obviously Jay-Z felt that recently when he had his little run-in...

"That's ridiculous. I mean, they weren't targeting hip-hop artists before hip-hop started making these millions and millions of dollars. Here you have hip-hop selling a quarter of a billion dollars worth of albums, outselling and pop or country or whatever type of music you had out there. That's where that comes from. You can't blame no rap music or rap artists for what nobody does. Lyrics is lyrics. Here you've got a person that says something about whatever on an album. That song lasts for three minutes and some seconds. You've got movies out there that they make that they're showing kids. Cable television. They're just trying to wipe out another form of us young black males that's getting paid. It's crazy. I think it's a disgrace to target rap music or rap artists for lyrics. If that's the case you should lock up Steven Spielberg for creating the movies that he makes. The John Woos and all that. You've got to do that, too. You can just go to rap music."

Is there anyone you'd like to work with that you haven't worked with?

"Rest in peace 2Pac and Biggie Smalls."

What's the future hold for Beanie Sigel?

"I can't predict the future. As of right now, the present right now has Beanie Sigel, young entrepreneur, black man that made a 180-degree turn in my life as far as my lifestyle and how I was living and maintaining. Right now, I'm no longer indulged in the worldly things out there. I'm a businessman right now. I got a clothing line I'm working on called Versatile Clothing. I just opened a clothing store in Philly. I'm working on a restaurant right now that I'm opening up in Philly. My record label we're getting the paperwork done with Roc-A-Fella called Criminal Records. My first artist is Freeway. You heard him on "1-900-Hustler" on The Dynasty album."

-- Mason Storm, The 411 Online

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