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

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Talk to me about your relationship with the Philadelphia police. Do they have a vendetta against Beanie Sigel?
It’s been personal. They tried to charge me with attempted murder on a cop back in ’93, but it ain’t come out the way they wanted it to. Me and my homie and the cop get shot. I’m shot the fuck up, handcuffed to a hospital bed, and they tell me I got an attempted murder charge on a police officer. But when the shit came out, it wasn’t that. But they just swept that one under the rug.

Did you sue?
Yeah, we sued them.

What was the outcome?
I ain’t get nothing. My man got some shit. He settled out of court. I was trying to get the big change.

What happened with your case?
I lost the civil suit. I lost the case. How’d they let that go down? [The cop] ain’t get charged with nothing.

Can you elaborate on what happened?
The cop passed his gun off and his homie shot me. The cop ain’t get charged for shit.

So the cop was off-duty.
Yeah, but you a cop 24 hours. I don’t really want to talk about that shit.

That’s fair. What is your recollection of what happened the night of July 1?
I don’t know what happened, homie. I can’t talk about none of that. I was advised by my lawyer not to speak about that. I know what you know, from reading the papers.

Rumors have spread that you paid Terrance Speller off?
I ain’t paid him shit. I don’t know nothing about that shit.

The police said they found Percocet and cough syrup in your Escalade last April. Can you comment on that?
I can’t speak on that.

Is this a case of mistaken identity?
Can’t talk about that. Dog, they trying to give me 40 years. You think I’m gonna talk about that shit, man? These mutherfuckas wanna give me 40 years… They might as well say that they wanna give me life. I’m about to turn 30. If they give me 20 years that means I’ma be 50 when I come home. What the fuck am I gonna do at 50 years old?

Who was the first person you spoke to when the alleged situation went down?
I ain’t speak to nobody. My lawyer let me know [about it].

Did you speak to Jay about it?
I let him know what was going on. I didn’t leave him in the dark. I told him when I was on tour, “Yo, I just found out that I’m gonna get arrested.” He was like, “For what?” When I told him “Attempted murder,” he was like, “What!” I said, “I know, I feel the same way, homie. What the fuck is they talking about?” It was brief. It’s no secret that Jay intends to put a bulk of the weight on you artistically, in terms of the Roc. Do you feel as if you may have let him down?

Jay is good money. He’s cool. If anything, I feel for my artists—Freeway, Young Gunz, Peedi Crakk. If I won’t be able to be there for them, that’s who I’ll really feel [I let down]. They all came up under me, so they looking for me to lead them. So I really feel for them. I mean, Jay loves me to death. No doubt about that, but he’s good money. Knowing Jay, the type of person he is, he might feel as if he let me down. He probably thinking like, “I saw some shit like this coming. I should have just gripped that nigga up.” I know how Jay is.

He came to speak on your behalf in court. Will that bring a tear to your eyes 10 years from now?
Shit, not even 10 years. That day I said, Damn, look at my man. He got me regardless… Him and Dame and Biggs, every court date I had they was there. Every one. Jay was flying off tour on a jet making those dates. Dame was there with his suit on and his big tie. This shit is Roc La Familia for real, homie. I ain’t go to court one time and look over my shoulder and not see them.

You’ve always had a close relationship with your mother. How is she holding up?
She’s going crazy right now. She’s fucked up.

Has she sat you down and tried to get you to curb your routine?
Nah. Her main thing is: “No matter what happens, I got you.” I ain’t do nothing for her to be like, “You need to stay in the house, you need to stop doing what you doing.” I’m innocent.

Have you called an official State Property meeting to hash out damage control, just in case the jury doesn’t believe that?
I haven’t gotten a chance to really talk to the whole State Property. Everybody is busy doing their thing, and you know I’m on house arrest. I talk to Free a lot, though. Free was there before
everybody else, so I’ve been giving him a lot of shit that he might have to start doing music-wise and business-wise for everybody.

Some may feel that’s ambitious. Do you believe the members of State Property can have extended careers without you making sure they get the proper push?
Yeah, because they had their talent without me. I ain’t give nobody their talent. It was just me directing, putting things together and organizing it. That’s why I talk to Free a lot. He got ’em, man. He’s gonna hold everything down. Plus Dame and Jay are still around. They gonna be cool. They gonna be good.

In his documentary, Tupac: Resurrection, Tupac mentions that he didn’t write while he was in prison because being locked up killed his spirit. Did you write while you were away?
I didn’t write one rhyme. Nothin’. There’s too much other shit to think about, man. That shit is a thinking process. I was told every life begins in a single cell. So whatever you was doing, it’s a new life. I mean, the thoughts are up here. But being locked up, you don’t have the spirit to do nothing that you used to do. If you were a ballplayer, I don’t think you would go out and be able to shoot ball every day with everybody. Worst-case scenario: Dwight Grant has to go away for a while. What would you want those kids in South Philly to take from that? Take it as a learning experience. Whatever I did to put myself in that situation, make sure you don’t do the same and put yourself in the same situation.