Beanie Sigel “Justify My Thug” (Originally Published January/February 2004)

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Beanie Sigel gave us a look at his living conditions with photos from behind the wall. Beans is currently serving 24-months for a drug possession charge and should be out before we know it. The Philly native has had previous run-ins with the law, especially a high-profile case of him charged with attempted murder several years ago. In “Justify My Thug,” Beanie Sigel stays calm and collected, even when he knows his rap career and life could be jeopardized. Read on.

He’s the future of Roc-A-Fella Records and the Philadelphia police’s public enemy numero uno. In an exclusive sit-down, Beanie Sigel speaks candidly about having his rap career-and his life-both on the line.

Written By Jermaine Hall

On the exterior, Beanie Sigel shows few signs of stress. Armed with the cutting snaps of a seasoned lunchroom smart-ass, he acts as if he’s keeping it together. Observe: A Roc-A-Fella worker bee struts into Damon Dash’s contemporary Midtown digs to show off the shine on his timepiece’s bezel.

(For the record, it’s low-grade). Beans greets his stuntin’ with a fake chuckle—the kind Dr. Evil would deliver if he were Black—then fires: “Those ain’t Rolex diamonds. What the fuck you done to that?”

Such sharp humor from the intimidating Philly scrap—who was released from federal custody on October 8—is encouraging, but he could very well be putting on a show of David Blaine proportions. Despite the lighthearted moment, Sigel’s inner thoughts must be miles away from Comedy Central. Heavy questions need answering. Here’s one: Could forever-young hip-hop fans have any interest in a 50-year-old former rap star named Dwight Grant?

On July 3, Sigel, 29, was charged with attempted murder, stemming from a July 1 incident in which he is accused of firing five or six bullets at Philadelphia native Terrance Speller in front of the Pony Tail Bar, a strip club in West Philly. Speller took a bullet to the chest and heel before hitting the pavement. If a jury in Philadelphia—a city that has acquitted only 14 of 974 gun cases since January, 1999—finds Sigel guilty, he will face a maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years. Those numbers fatten when prosecutors stack on previously pending charges of assault and illegal gun possession.

Signed to Roc-A-Fella by Jay-Z in 1998, Sigel, the leader of the up-and-coming group State Property, has sold over a million records in his career. But with a long history with Philadelphia police, and his future uncertain, Sigel must now worry. Worry that Speller—who was terrified to cooperate with the prosecution because of what he called Sigel’s “long arms,” according to Philadelphia Special Investigative Unit Detective Michael Chitwood—has already given the prosecution videotaped testimony. Worry that this same Mr. Speller might reenact for the jury his panicked thoughts—“I’m not gonna die!,” he told himself again and again—the night the bullet pierced his chest. Worry that Sigel’s rumored addiction to Percocet and cough medicine—called “pancakes and syrup” on Philly streets—could be confirmed by the fact the police allegedly found two 16-ounce bottles of medicine, 22 Xanax and 21 Percocet pills in his Escalade last April 20.

There’s one story Sigel won’t have to sweat, however. One that, sadly, will probably never make it to the jury: On the day he was arrested after performing at the Camden, NJ, Rock The Mic concert, three young boys, ages eight through 11, stood at the 18th Police District waiting to talk to police about their dirt bikes, which had been stolen. When Sigel walked into the building, the overexcited tykes instantly forgot about their two-wheelers. Spotting the kids waiting patiently, Detective Chitwood asked Sigel if he would mind talking to them. Sigel agreed and proceeded to give the boys a presentation on the importance of school, and the benefits of obeying parents and teachers.

How funny is that?