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Sigel Emerges From Jay-Z's Shadow

March 03, 2000|SOREN BAKER

***BEANIE SIGEL

"The Truth"

Roc-a-Fella/Island Def Jam

The Philadelphia rapper has had the benefit of performing on popular songs with Jay-Z and DMX, but his debut album should establish the Jay-Z protege as a star in his own right. Even with the ever-impressive Jay-Z delivering nearly flawless performances on "Raw & Uncut" and "Playa," it's clearly Sigel's show.

Sigel boasts of his rapping prowess on the organ-driven title track and celebrates his emancipation from poverty on the reflective "Remember Them Days." On the catchy "Mac Man," producer Robert "Shim" Kirkland incorporates sound effects from the arcade game Pac-Man into the instrumentation as Sigel weaves mentions of various video games into his raps about life in the drug game.

Sigel sticks to street narratives throughout the 14-cut collection, but his clever phrasing and the blistering beats from a string of producers make for a thoroughly entertaining package.

Curiously, Jay-Z's current hit, "Anything," is included on the album, even though Sigel does not appear on it. Maybe the slogan should be, "Marketing is everything."

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.

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