They say art imitates life. This is never more evident than on Beanie Sigel's third release The B. Coming. With jail time imminent and his life on the line, Beanie Sigel took all of the pain, hardship, and struggles of his life and turned it into his greatest achievement yet. The Beans on this album is different from the one on The Reason and The Truth. You can tell from the tone in his voice and the emphasis on every bar that Beanie knew what lied ahead of him. The dark and eerie mood on The B. Coming is tense. Bean's introspective rhymes and real life drama takes you on a roller coaster ride of emotions. The B. Coming will do nothing to cheer your day up, but that is the beauty of it. The album represents the pain and struggle of Beanie Sigel, as the Philly native poured his heart and soul out on every track.
The lead single "Feel It In The Air" finds Beans in vintage Geto Boys form, questioning whether his "mind is playing tricks on him". Over Heavy D's atmospheric backdrop and fitting vocal sample, Beans offers a variety of lyrical jewels that touch on his inner and outward struggles.
"I hear this voice in the back of my mind, like Mack; tighten up your circle, before they hurt you. Read they body language, eighty-five percent communication non-verbal, eighty-five percent swear they know you. Ten percent, you know they stories. Man the other five, I'mma show you. Just know you been pulling strings, you the puppet master. Fuck them other bastards, now watch who you puffin after. Play your cards, go against all odds. Shoot for the moon, if you miss, you still amongst those stars".
The struggle continues on the soulful "I Can't Go On This Way" featuring Young Chris and Freeway. Following Jay-z's "blueprint" for soul, producer Aqua laces the track with a magnificent sample, but utilizing Gloria Scott's "Love Me, Love Me, Love Me Or Leave Me, Leave Me". Beanie's epic verse touches on everything from baby mama drama, to the pitfalls of the music industry. Gone are the repetitive rhyme schemes and tired subject matter that was seen on Bean's last two LP's. "I Can't Go On This Way" is proof that Beanie has stepped up his game and is providing thought provoking bars for each listener to crew on.
This is also seen on the Ty Fyffe produced "Change". Over a compelling combination of slick violins and sparkling keys, Bean's transports himself back in the day to when he was just a "child of the ghetto". However, instead of offering a cliché recollection of street drama, Beanie runs through a story of an individual's growth and change while still living in the hood. "Lord Have Mercy" is another notable effort that finds Bean's asking for forgiveness from the "man" above. The track's gloomy keys and harmonic hook add even more intensity to an already ominous song.
While The B. Coming's dark vibe is present throughout, the album is not without change of pace tracks that help lighten or switch up the mood. The infectious "Gotta Have It" featuring Peedi Crak and Twista, succeeds due to its catchy hook, and each emcee's sick flow. Brick City's finest Redman also makes an appearance on "One Shot Deal", as producer Bink amazes with his horn arrangement on the track. The down south influenced "Purple Rain" is another noteworthy collaboration, as Beans and Bun B reminisce about their introduction to sizzurp. But the album's best collaboration comes from "Bread & Butter", which features the legendary Grand Puba and Sadat X. With Just Blaze behind the boards, each emcee delves into the shady workings of the opposite sex. Unlike most efforts, the song is able to bridge the gap between the past and present of Hip Hop music.
As the album winds down, The B. Coming ends on an ironic note. His two previous albums, The Reason and The Truth ended with somber and lifelike looks inside the prison system, even though Beanie was a free man at the time. However, with his freedom in jeopardy, The B. Coming ends on a surprisingly positive note with "Look At Me Now". Instead of another grim look inside his life, Bean's proclaims that he has "made it". The broad street bully reminisces about his life, all the pain and struggles, and in turn accepts it all. It is a fitting and ironic way to end the album.
With The B. Coming, Beanie Sigel cements himself as a great emcee. While he may not be as flashy as those in the mainstream light, what Bean's lacks in commercial appeal he makes up with his introspective nature and top notch lyrical skills. So what keeps The B. Coming from being a classic? The first issue is the overwhelming amount of guest appearances. While none of them takes away from Bean's performance on each song, in order for Bean's to truly achieve a classic, he has to do it on his own. In addition, the Neptune's produced single "Don't Stop" featuring Snoop Dogg is a contrived effort that was clearly forced on Bean's in order to gain radio and video play. Still, The B. Coming is a triumphant release from Beanie Sigel. While not everyone will embrace Bean's substance over style approach, make no mistake about it, The B. Coming will be remembered for years to come.