Beans came with The Truth in 1999 and now brings the reasons behind why his debut album contained nothing less than the truth. He’s came a long way and proved he’s not another emcee’s protégé through two albums now. He’s still compared to Jay-Z, and said to be a near-exact copy, and it’s understandable. Both rappers are arrogant, but they each have their egos for different reasons. Even on Reasonable Doubt, Jay has came across as The Godfather of hustling; He’s been there, and done that so he knows all. Beanie comes across as a more stubborn hustler who claims to have seen it all at his young age. That brings us to another important aspect of The Reason: Mack is not only a gangster, but rather a diverse emcee who flips devastating rhyme schemes over fast-to-slow beats filled with angry or laid back lyrics. Unfortunately, the diversity tends to get in the way when it comes to the production sometimes. The beats can be almost too profound to the point where they’re annoying, or just plain bad.
The album really evolves from a hardcore LP to an emotional manifesto toward the end, and comparing the first tracks to the last cuts really shows you the variety. As far as traditional Roc-A-Fella goes, you have songs like “Get Down” and “So What You Saying”, both of which are enjoyable tracks. “Get Down” has a tight beat with some classic hip-hop scratching, and mixed vocals for the chorus. Beanie’s flow doesn’t compliment the hardcore vibe on the production because he seems somewhat laid back in the first verse. The delivery slowly picks up toward the end and is definitely up to par when the second verse starts. As good as “Get Down” is, it just cannot compare to “So What You Saying”, which is a huge surprise since Memphis Bleek appears as a guest. It’s a hyped-up, braggadocios spitfest over a hot, sampled instrumental that you won’t forget.
When the fifth track, “I Don’t Do Much” drops, you’ll hear Beanie respond to all scrutinizers and rap critics who say he lives life too much at a time, or he’s illegal in so many ways. More madness comes with “For My Niggaz” as Mack teams up with west coast veteran, Daz Dillinger of DPG, to bring a slower-paced song that combines east and west, with Daz and Beans showing respect across the nation to one another. Even though the east vs. west isn’t as dramatic as it used to be, most emcees stick with collaborations in their area.
The Reason certainly becomes a diverse, and serious, album when the album comes to end, saving the best cuts for last. “Tales Of A Hustler” features a newcomer, Sparks, who joins Sigel in a tragic storytelling joint that might bring you back to Nas’ “The Message” from It Was Written. Sparks is a decent emcee, but not up to the level of Mack; therefore, I thought it was a bad combination on this song. Matching up dream collaborations is probably a bad idea, but the storyteller himself, Nas, would have rocked the drama-filled beat with his classic ghetto tales. The two most powerful songs on the LP are “Mom Praying” and “Still Got Love For You”, both dealing with family life. Scarface appears on “Mom Praying”, which was Beanie’s best decision on the entire album because Scarface definitely brings the necessary emotion and remorseful style. Both rappers utilize the sick production given to them to spit their bits about family life, and everyday routines, while basically praising their mothers. “Still Got Love For You” is an apologetic song, which alludes to “Where Have You Been” (from Jay-Z’s Dynasty Roc La Familia LP). In that song, Beans and Jay-Z dissed their fathers for not being around when it counted. Now, both emcees come back on a regret-filled song to express their apologies and make sure their fathers know that the love is still there.
Unfortunately, some songs get ruined by beats like on “Gangsta Gangsta” featuring Kurupt and “Watch Your Bitches”, which is a pimp-like, The Mack, kind of song. The beats are too “in your face” due to loud samples, but some will still find them tolerable. Even with a “violation” of a matter of personal preference, The Reason is still a great album that will probably be overlooked by die-hard underground heads and backpackers. Beanie Sigel is proving he’s a stand-alone emcee, and he deserves more credit than he’s given.
Reviewed By RhymeLife.Com for HipHopHotSpot.Com