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Beanie Sigel 

The Solution (Roc-a-Fella/Island Def Jam)


Beanie Sigel's rough and ready new CD, The Solution, stands in contrast to the latest from his mentor, Jay-Z. American Gangster saw Jay reminiscing about the days before he settled into his plush corporate lifestyle, but Sigel is still living hard. Having been acquitted of attempted murder and having served a prison stint on a weapons charge since his last album, The B. Coming, Sigel sounds raw and inspired. Released within a month of American Gangster and a slew of other big-name fourth-quarter releases, The Solution seems likely to get lost in the shuffle, just as the new record by Sigel's protégé Freeway did. But that's a shame, because Sigel's aggressive manner is channeled perfectly here. The beats, largely provided by Dre & Vidal, are consistently serviceable, and sometimes great. But the real star of the show is Sigel's gruff, angry flow, and his wordplay, which mixes humor with street bravado. From "Dear Self": "You can bury me face down with an open casket, this whole world can kiss mine/Tell me, what this life got to offer?" The album's masterpiece, "Rain (Bridge)," is a heartfelt jazz piano–based ballad featuring Scarface and Raheem DeVaughn. Sigel, vulnerable? Like almost everything else on this album, it works.


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