State Property Members Stress Independence, Don't Take Orders

Philadelphia rappers question whether the collective even exists.

Since Dame Dash and Beanie Sigel's mother, Michelle Brown-Derry, announced Beanie Sigel's prison mandate to put State Property on hold until he is released, members of the Philadelphia collective have questioned if there was really anything to pause.

"Can't no one man put nobody on hold," Sparks of Oschino and Sparks said about the order sent down by Sigel (see "Mixtape Monday: Beanie Sigel's Fair-Weather Friends, Saigon's Dose of Ice-Free Reality.") 'State Property' was a movie, then they branded us. They got a clothing line and sneakers, but it wasn't no contract where we was a group [named State Property]. We were all in individual groups. The Young Gunz was a group, me and O was a group, [Peedi] Crakk was a solo artist, Beans was a solo artist, Freeway was a solo artist. Jay-Z signed me and O. People saying Beans got everybody signed. That ain't true."

"It wasn't really no State Property, because [Roc-A-Fella] put everybody together," explained Neef of the Young Gunz, who also said he and his partner were signed to Roc-A-Fella before they even met Beanie. "Nobody really knew each other. Everybody was rapping and trying to get on. They made it hard for n---as. In so many words they said, 'You gotta come out with Mack [Beanie Sigel].' "

Freeway, who seemed the closest to Sigel, has the most optimistic outlook about the breakup. He says don't believe anything until you hear it out of Sigel's mouth.

"I've been hearing a bunch of different things, but when I talk to him about State Property, it's all love," Free said, downplaying the conflict. "Y'all gonna wait till he comes home and interview him. State Property, we see each other all the time. I see O, Sparks, Crakk, the Young Gunz. It ain't been dismantled. That's bullsh--. We here. The streets love us. We love the streets. We love our fans. We gonna make music. Forget all the rumors you've been hearing."

All the members of State Property say they were signed directly to Roc-A-Fella/ Def Jam and never were contractually bound as one supergroup. A few of them did know each other from Philly beforehand, but the crew's bond was fostered and tightened once they were put together. When Dash and Kareem "Biggs" Burke parted ways with Jay, it was left up to State Property which faction they wanted to sign with. As it stands now, O and Sparks, Peedi Crakk, Freeway and the Gunz are all signed to Jay-Z's new Roc-A-Fella, with Sigel planning to start his own imprint under the Dame Dash Music Group umbrella.

Sigel's mom says that the members were supposed to join Beanie once he set up his situation with the DDMG. However, if you ask some of the State Property members, there was never any question who they were going to align themselves with.

"I don't f--- with Dame Dash at all," Peedi Crakk fumed. "I f--- with Beans and Biggs. I can't be around [Dash]. I can't be on that side of the fence. I hollered at Jay; Jay said he got my contract, and I can go with him. I left it at that. I was happy being with Jay.

"He don't listen," Crakk continued, explaining why he doesn't associate with Dash's group. "He's so smart, he's dumb. He's got so much money, he thinks he's the sh--. A cloud just hovers over his head so much, it f---s with his common sense. That's why he's losing. He don't know how to pick music, what song to do a video for, how to shoot a video. If you tell him this, he feels disrespected because he's got so many people kissing his ass. When you talk to him on a man-to-man level, on a regular level, he feels disrespected. He's got three, four, five assistants holding his two-way, holding his money, holding his phone. All this super Hollywood sh--.

Neef insists that he and Young Chris were always planning to stay with Jay and the Roc. "We met Jay, Dame and Biggs together, but Jay was that n---a comforting us. We ain't really talk to Dame until the sh-- start fading away. When they was together, we was kicking it with Jay more. We were still going on every tour with him, but still doing everything Dame wanted us to do. When the [split] happened, we had to let them know you can't play both sides of the fence. I even had my problems with Dame, too. We used to argue about all types of sh-- — little stuff like directing videos — but [Dame's] a good n---a."

Dash says he doesn't feel that he and Jay-Z cutting business ties should mean that artists under his Music Group label can't still be cool with Roc-A-Fella artists.

"Regretfully, it looks like you have to choose a side, and that's never the way I wanted it to be," Dash said. "I think that's corny. I would look at other situations and be like, 'That could never happen over here.' It appears that it did. That's embarrassing to me. It wasn't anything that me, Beanie or anybody under this umbrella bought into. The Roc is about friendship — or at least it was. It wasn't about the money. We do whatever we do to help each other. ... When we signed people, they were signing into a certain kind of unity where this could never have happened. We were snobby, like 'We're the thorough dudes. We would never do no clown stuff like that.'

"I guess the choice that had to be made was, 'Do we want to go through a system and be corporate, or do we have an independent spirit?' " Dash explained. "Beans was like, 'I'm gonna roll with the independent thing.' Even though we still get distributed through Universal and I deal with L.A. Reid, we're still independent."

Business issues aside, Brown-Derry said her son had fostered close personal relationships with the fellas from Philly, and he's hurt that he hasn't heard from the State Property guys while he's been in jail the last several months.

"I can't really speak on why nobody has really been seeing him," Neef said. "Me and Mack, we never had a crazy relationship like everybody else had with him. We was cool, but we never saw eye to eye. It ain't no beef or drama. ... I ain't on his album. You gonna hear Chris on his album, not me. I was never mad at him; we just never clicked. He's a real n---a — I can't take that away from him. He's nice as sh-- with the rappin', but we just didn't click."

"When I was in jail, didn't nobody write me," Crakk said. "I didn't want nobody to write me. Only person who came to see me was Freeway. Oschino tried to come see me, but he couldn't. I talked to Mack on the phone.

"But that's not how we roll when a person is locked up. N---as don't wanna see n---as when you in jail. All you worried about is your girl, your mom, your grandmother, your kids. You not worried about no n---as in jail writing you back and forth. When I was in jail, I didn't get mad about nobody writing me. Didn't nobody go see my mom, nobody took money to mom. Beans called my mom, I call his mom. Beans is my man. Me and Beans got a connection. I start calling him 'Uncle Mitty.' "

"What are we supposed to do, be stagnated?" Sparks asked. "I got kids. I gotta make moves. I probably ain't take the time out to write him — my fault — but he could have reached out to me. I got the same number. You got money on the books; you can call. My home address never changed. I'm still in the same neighborhood. But I got real busy. It's time to focus on me, 'cause Beans ain't around to handle business. What do they mean, 'We on hold?' I'm supposed to tell my son or daughter, 'We can't eat because Beans is locked up?' "

State Property, as we knew them, all have individual efforts coming down the pike shortly. Beanie Sigel's The B. Coming is slated for March 29, while the Gunz's Brothers From Another is out May 24 and Freeway's Free at Last is due July 5. Peedi Crakk's solo album and an Oschino and Sparks LP have no release dates yet, but Crakk's is well into production and Oschino and Sparks say that they are done. Sparks has even moved on to his own solo project.

Even if we have seen the last of State Property making music as one group, the members of the crew still seem to be pretty tight. Young Gunz, Peedi Crakk and O and Sparks still stay in constant communication. All agree that there is no beef among them, and they still have love for Sigel.