Since Beanie Sigel’s halfway dis record against Jay-Z, “What You Talkin Bout” debuted on Kay Slay’s show on Hot97 last night, the internets/streets are going nuts about the Broad Street Bully airing out Hov.
First, the song. People are going ape shit but in reality, this song is like, not good. The beat, a middling drum pattern with a tick-tocky clock-like melody, is a mellow backdrop so you can clearly hear what Beanie’s saying. Except he’s not really saying much. which makes this song itself a total non-event.
Secondly, the interview. In the first half it sounds like Beans is genuinely peeved about a bunch of things that went on with Roc-A-Fella, all legitimate beefs. He talks a bit about going to jail, how the Young Gunz were only getting $1200 a night on the road with Jay, himself not being paid on tours, money that he thought he was due through a sneaker deal with Pro Keds, so on and so forth. Without any intimate knowledge of the business affairs that went on at Roc-A-Fella, I’ve no doubt in my mind that the funny money situations Beans speaks about with album advances, recording budgets and Roc-A-Fella’s various business, were really occurring. This is the record business, shit happens.
The most striking part of the interview to me though, was when Beanie says he hasn’t spoken to Jay-Z in two years. He mentions that he can’t get in touch with Jay, that it takes talking to 5 people to speak with him. To hear Beanie tell it, Shawn Carter is like the Michael Corleone of the rap game. Except he’s really not.
Beanie Sigel thinks that Roc-A-Fella was a family. It wasn’t. Beanie Sigel was signed as a recording artist to Roc-A-Fella Records, given an album budget to record songs which the label could then exploit in the marketplace. In terms of that avenue of business, not mixtape songs or whether Beanie Sigel is “nice” or he bodied so and so on a track or went to war with Jadakiss or Nas, he was not very successful. To the best of my knowledge, only one Beanie Sigel album went Gold, and that was his first LP, The Truth, which was spearheaded by a Jay-Z single, “Anything.” Keep in mind this was the year 2000, when a rapper could literally take a piss on a record and it would have sold platinum or better. That Jay-Z had the single from another artist on his label’s debut LP should tell you something- Beans was a commercial liability from day 1. As Beans alludes to in his new song, he “brought the fellas to Roc-A-Fella.” Yeah, that’s exactly what he did. He lent an element of goonery to Roc-A-Fella when all they had was Jay and Bleek (hardly what I’d call goons).
Beanie was like Jay-Z’s Tony Yayo, except less paid.
On top of all this, Beanie signed with Dame Dash Music Group back in 2004. In a wikipedia entry on Beanie, it says he made the decision to sign with Dame over Jay because he’d never spent time around Jay on and off day. That he had a more personal relationship with Dame and Biggs. Now here he is, five years later, saying they were like a family, that he wants a phone call blah blah blah. He didn’t want that phone call in 2004, when he was sitting in Jay’s office (according to the Charlemagne interview), asking to be let out of his contract. So what’s the real story?
Perhaps Jay is like Michael Corleone, and once you take sides with another family, you’re done in his eyes. Or perhaps it’s a lot less dramatic, and it’s more like, as I alluded to above, Beanie never really being much of a marquee player, more like a Rick Mahorn-style bruiser who was on the team just to rough up the other team’s best player (Jadakiss, Nas, Jaz-0, etc).
In that respect, Beanie would fall in line with a whole assortment of characters who Jay-Z has left by the wayside as he’s moved on to bigger and better things. Take a number- R. Kelly, Foxy Brown, Jaz-O, Amil, Dame Dash, DMX, Irv Gotti, Ski Beatz, Sauce Money… this list goes on and on. My thought is, Beanie should add his name to the list of those who may never get a return call from Hov. This whole scenario is sounding like a Tweet song right about now.