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B. Mack is Back: Beanie Sigel’s triumphant return to Philly at Voltage Lounge

Beanie Sigel | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | <A href=http://rejibphotography.com target="_blank">rejibphotography.com</a>
Beanie Sigel | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | rejibphotography.com

If you ask any 30+ hip-hop head in the Philadelphia community who the top 5 rappers are from their city, chances are every single self-respecting one of them will mention Beanie Sigel in that list. The State Property general’s unapologetically street style, complete with his trademark gruff delivery and straightforward bars, has made him a permanent fixture in Philly’s hip-hop history. While his peak relevancy was a bit before my time, I still grew up listening to a ton of Beanie and his State Prop cohorts, just learning how to rhyme from their natural technical abilities. Unlike most of my mentors and older friends in the scene here, I still hadn’t seen Beans live, and he was definitely still on my bucket list of artists to catch. So, of course, I had to make it out to Voltage Lounge this past Saturday to see his return to his hometown, along with a bill of fellow Philly legends and strong up and comers.

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Beanie Sigel arrested on drug and gun charges in I-95 traffic stop

One day after the release of his latest album, local rapper Beanie Sigel was arrested on drug and gun charges in a traffic stop on I-95 the early morning hours today. According to a report in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Sigel was a riding in a car pulled over for swerving and tailgating around 3:14 a.m. When searching Sigel and driver Gerald Andrews, the Inquirer reports:

Troopers found numerous prescription bottles, several pills wrapped in plastic bags in a cigarette pack and a small amount of marijuana on Andrews, the news release said. On Sigel, police said they found a bottle of codeine syrup with the label scratched off and $4,650 in cash.

Both men were taken in to custody and when police searched the vehicle, they found a gun in the center counsel, according to the release.

Read the full report here. UPDATE: in a statement released to press, Ruffhouse Records founder Chris Schwartz announced ongoing support for Sigel. “Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” said Schwartz. “However, Beanie has done nothing but display the utmost professionalism in all the initiatives related to the promotion of his new release. Beanie obviously has been struggling with some personal issues, and we continue to support him now and throughout his impending incarceration.”

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Ruffhouse Records founder Chris Schwartz on relaunching his revered label in a new era

Ruffhouse Records CEO Chris Schwartz

Beanie Sigel dropped his much-anticipated sixth album today, and it’s a boisterous return to form for the South Philly-bred rapper and actor – and another Philadelphia hip-hop institution as well.

This Time is the first release on a newly-relaunched Ruffhouse Records, the locally-based / Columbia-distributed label that put out an impressive string of albums between 1989 and 1999 – The Goats’ Tricks of the Shade, Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday, both Fugees full-lengths as well as and the modern soul classic The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. It also ventured into the local alternative rock scene, releasing records by popsters Trip 66 and the still-active Ben Arnold.

Label founder Chris Schwartz says he didn’t think twice when deciding would usher in the new era of Ruffhouse – Sigel is, in his words, “a cornerstone artist.”

“At the end of the day, the guy made an incredible record. It’s unfortunate he won’t be here to do some of the things he needs to do behind it,” Schwartz says, referencing Beanie’s looming two-year prison sentence for tax evasion. “But in our humble estimation, it’s the best record he’s made since The Truth. We have an artist – we have a credible, real artist – and making records is what we do.” Continue reading →

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Best New Music: “The Reunion” by Beanie Sigel (featuring State Property)

Philly rapper Beanie Sigel is releasing a new album, This Time, on August 28th on the reformed Ruffhouse Records. The label had a ten year run from 1989-1999 with releases from Cypress Hill, The Fugees, Schoolly D, The Goats and others. Ruffhouse relaunches with Sigel’s first album since 2007, as Sigel heads off to do a two year prison stint for tax evasion. The first single from the record, “The Reunion”, is a hip-hop slammer and features State Property, the Sigel led rap group featuring Omillio Sparks, Beans, Young Chris, Peedi Crakk and Freeway. Fueled by a funky, tight sample of Sly & The Family Stone’s “You Can Make It If You Try,” Sigel and State Property trade rhymes and raps over the beats that’s an immediate classic. Listen to the song below, and check back next week for an interview with Ruffhouse CEO Chris Schwartz.