NEW YORK — When it comes to ribbing his good friend Freeway about a pair of pants a tad too tight, Beanie Sigel's timing is impeccable.
"Them joints is slim," Beanie said while getting a haircut.
"See, we kinda chubby 'cause we eating and sh--," Free laughed about the State Property jeans he was wearing for a photo shoot. "Cut that out.
But, nah, are they slim?"
"Kinda slim, playaaaaa!" Beans continued to laugh at his friend's expense. "Nah, you good. You're straight."
Beans and Free had joined most of the State Property chain gang in a downtown studio for a photo shoot promoting their clothing line.
With artists and their albums to tend to, State Property clothing in stores, State Property sneakers arriving soon, the "Playpen" cartoon a possibility for Spike TV and a "State Property" movie sequel on the horizon, you'd imagine his business ventures are the reason Beanie's
having trouble catching a vibe while recording his third LP, The B-Coming.
The real reason, though, is he doesn't have enough time in the lab.
"It's coming along," Beanie said about the recording process. "I still ain't got into my zone. I got offset by my little timeout. But I'll be back."
Beans' timeout, of course, was due to his arrest for attempted murder last summer and subsequent gun charges (see "Beanie Sigel Arrested, Charged With Attempted Murder"). He was released on house arrest
late last year, but his strict new schedule has hindered his recording.
"I can't zone out right," he explained. "I used to be able to be in the studio all day, wake up at four in the morning and knock out two joints. Now I get to the studio at noon but I gotta be out by like three in order to get back home to Philly by eight. I'm allowed out of the house from six in the morning till 8 p.m., but don't nobody be up
at 6 a.m. They ain't coming to the studio till at least noon."
Sigel allots ample time for traffic jams, so he leaves New York by 4 p.m. at the latest. He's building a home studio, but it won't be the same as going to Baseline in Manhattan.
"It's cool to work in the crib," he said. "But I'm used to coming to New York to record. That's my thing. I have to get used to waking up, going downstairs. The motivation ain't there yet, but I'll do what I gotta do."
Beanie says he wants to drop his album as soon as possible because his fans are waiting for it. Roc-A-Fella Records is waiting for it, too. With Jay-Z retiring, the label needs another big name on its release schedule. But Sig says his homie stepping down puts no pressure on him.
"I don't even think about that," he said. "I got my own identity. It might help, actually."
Beanie has already recorded with production blue chipper Aqua (who worked on The Black Album), Bink Dog, Black Key, Buckwild and Heavy D.
"Heavy D did this joint called 'Feel It in the Air,'" Sigel said. "I
stole the beat from Peedi Crakk. We was putting the Crakk album together and he had a lot of beats he didn't use. So I jacked him for it for Heav's track. You know, 'Gimme that beat, fool!' "
"The Playpen" TV show will feature Sigel, Crakk and the rest of State Property.
"Put 'South Park,' 'Rugrats,' 'Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids' and 'The Simpsons' all together," Beanie explained. "It's gonna be crazy. It's State Property as kids. We go to this daycare center but don't want to be there. It's like jail. Our whole conversation is like jailhouse slang, and we try to break out of the nursery every day. It's gonna be a little mature for a cartoon, but kids could watch it. We might do it with Spike TV. It's looking real good."
How does Sigel feel about his impending trial and possible jail time?
"I'm cool, man," he shrugged. "Ain't nothing I can really do, so I'm just keeping it regular."