NEW YORK — If you thought the Notorious B.I.G. had a "Story to Tell," Beanie Sigel said you should wait until you hear his new album.
"I got a helluva story," Beanie said with a huge grin, sitting in Studio 59 at Chelsea Piers on Wednesday. Sigel was doing a photo shoot with Dame Dash and Cam'ron for Dash's host of brands, including his CEO clothing line and Armadale vodka.
"I'm coming," Beanie said of his new album. "I'm in the studio every day. I know y'all wanna hear some Sigel music. But the music game, I don't fit right now. My album, Return of the Bad Guy, I'm not in the club right now with it. I'm not partying. I can give you that from time to time, but I'm a soulful brother. I been through a lot. I'm just giving you my life."
Through the years, Beanie has established himself as a top-tier hip-hop lyricist, and many critics called his last LP, The B. Coming, a classic (see "10 Candidates For The Next 'Greatest MCs Of All Time' List"). But Sigel's rounds in the headlines the past couple of years have mostly been about his troubles in the streets and run-ins with the law. Just a few weeks ago, he was shot in Philadelphia (see "Beanie Sigel Recuperating After Being Shot During Robbery Attempt"). Sigel was struck in the arm, admitted to the hospital and released the same day.
While Sig said he couldn't talk about the incident, which is still under investigation, he did give his take on recent violence involving MCs such as T.I., Busta Rhymes, Proof and Cam'ron.
"Look at life," Beanie said. "Take all the rappers out of the equation and look at your local news wherever you at. Don't look at rappers like, 'Why is this happening to rappers?' This is happening to 13-year-old kids, 15 year-old kids. ... This is what's happening in the streets. That's what's happening in every neighborhood. I don't care if you from Detroit, Philly, Atlanta — it's out there. It's epidemic. ... Our situation is sensitive. It gets blown up because we're on TV."
A few minutes later, Dame Dash, fresh from being photographed, came in, and the mood got considerably lighter.
"Don't you love that?" Dash asked about his red T-shirt that read "CEO" across the chest. "What I represent is my clothing line.
"What he represents is his clothing line," Dash added, pointing out Sigel's hoodie with the words "State Property" across his heart. Dash and Sigel share that line. "That's the best hustle on the planet. I'm about getting money, being a CEO. ... Unfortunately [Sigel's] been about state property, but we gonna get some money off that. That's what hustlers do," Dash said, sharing a loud laugh with Sigel after Dame's loving jab about Beanie's time behind bars (see "Beanie Sigel Released From Prison").
Sigel's album has no release date, and he said he's not ready to reveal what label will put it out.