Facing incarceration on a federal gun charge, rapper Beanie Sigel got to work big time and quickly finished the album he had promised for years, The B.Coming. Rather than rushed, the album feels tense, like all these songs were attacking Beans and he was trying his damnedest to let them all through. It's a hectic, exhaustive listen, and on first encounter, cluttered. The mastering of the album sounds like a mixtape: dense, tight, and maxed at times. It takes some getting used to since Beanie's lyrics are better and expectedly bleaker than ever, and could benefit from something more crisp -- so make sure you've got the headphones ready and told all your friends to beat it. You wouldn't listen to an audiobook with everybody hanging around, and with The B.Coming being a journal set to beats, you're best off going this one alone. One thing to know is that it's not a linear journal. Instead, it consists of fragments from here and there that deal very little with situations and more with mindsets. The Neptunes-produced "Don't Stop" spits bitter venom at those "softer than a Reebok classic," with Snoop playing a simple, supportive role, something Beanie's other guests -- and there are plenty -- could learn from. Twista and Peedi Peedi take the twitching party of "Gotta Have It" to a new level and Bun B is a good hangout buddy for the spliff-puffing, sizzurp-sipping "Purple Rain," but when Beanie gets serious, you'll want Redman or whoever else out of the way. Course, everybody wants to hear Beans and Jay-Z trade lines, since Sigel and Jay go way back, and as "It's On" displays, the powerful chemistry is still there. The spiteful "Bread & Butter" ("So blind/I didn't see the Robin Givens in you"), the humble one minute, vicious the next "Lord Have Mercy," and the pensive "Look at Me Now" add to the pile of highlights. Those looking for a direct story of how Beanie earned three years in the clink will be somewhat disappointed, but these chunks of insight into the man's turmoil -- and the couple party tunes that go with them -- add up to one hell of an album.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
feat: Snoop Dogg
feat: Bun B
feat: Young Chris
feat: Peedi Peedi