Like his key effort The Reason (2005), This Time is another pre-prison album from Beanie Sigel. Big difference is that last time out, it was year and a day on federal weapons charges (gangster stuff, and at a fed level), while this time its two years for failing to file taxes on his one-million-plus income (flossy and fed, but not so gangster). Regardless of the charge, this sharp and inspired album is further proof that Beanie feeds on that hard-time-coming pressure, but he's more in the Wesley Snipes zone than Pablo Escobar territory here, and that glorious, urban dream depicted on the cover comes right through the speakers. Key track in this environment is the "Get yours, get mine, just don't stop my grind" anthem "That's All I Know," where Akon provides the memorable hook, Beanie gripes about Rick Ross while dropping a Tony Danza/Who's the Boss reference, and the ghetto is painted as a lively, boisterous carnival. It's a place where hot sauce and boosted jewelry are what make the block rock, and "where young bloods turn a good day into a Suge Knight." The dark alternate is the no-frills "No Hook," a tense nightmare on the docks with a foghorn echoing in the background, plus convincing Michael Vick and Broad Street bullies references from Sigel, the millionaire who can still kick it at street level. Great how the karate-chopping "The Reunion" puts Sparks, Young Chris, Peedi Crakk, and Freeway into a vibrant, Kill Bill atmosphere and as "Expensive Taste" increases the thread count and soul with its "kisses to my ghetto bitches" attitude, it turns out the secret weapon of This Time is the high-caliber production. There's a luscious set of backing tracks here with folks like Shawn "SK" Kuiper, Cardiac, and Alex (Don Cheegro) Chiger delivering the kind of polished and purposeful stuff that challenges the superstars. Ten tight tracks, and that includes the epic "Intro," puts this on the man's top-shelf, where it sits next to The Reason as the album's flashy little brother.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries