Finding The GOAT: Beanie Sigel vs. Freeway…Who You Got?
As we continue the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time), we are asking you to help us rank who is the greatest MC to pick up a mic. We will take over 35 years of Hip-Hop into consideration, pairing special match-ups in a sequence not unlike March Madness. For the next several months, we will roll out battles, starting with artists from similar eras paired against one another, until one undisputed King or Queen of the microphone reigns supreme.
The next MCs to square-off come are the second in the search for GOAT to face-off after coming from the same crew: State Property’s Beanie Sigel and Freeway. With their stories and fates forever tied together, these two MCs brought the Rap spotlight back to Philly for presenting hard-nosed, heartfelt reality songs to the global masses (click on one to vote).
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
In the early 2000s, two of Hip-Hop’s most revered voices not only came from the same skyline, but the same crew. State Property was an extension of Beanie Sigel’s early 2000s success. The lead protege of the Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam Records act was Freeway. From opposite sides of the city, Beans represented a brute MC with a lot on his mind, and undercovers watchin’ his every movement. Freeway, a devout Muslim, represented a street-stuck MC who wanted to do right. The results yielded each a gold-certified debut, and a cloak full of hit records. When the Roc crumbled, both MCs stayed strong by staying true, and showing the mass Hip-Hop listener a different kind of street-smart aesthetic. Friends through all the trials and tribulations of the last 15 years, this pair of Philly brothers squares off in this arena. Read these quite different backgrounds and histories, listen to their music and cast your vote.
During a time when Gangsta Rap was out of vogue, Philadelphia’s Beanie Sigel entered the scene as Roc-A-Fella Records’ enforcer. B. Sig’ verses spoke from a place of the hustling have-nots, with an undisputed sincerity. Not a fast rapper, Sigel’s ability to express himself, and hit a pocket of Rap has made him one of the most respected voices of the early-to-mid-2000s. Like Ol’ Dirty Bastard or 2Pac, Beanie’s real-life collided with his raps, only adding to their rawness and realness, at a time when most rappers were plausibly decorated fiction writers.
In his first three albums, Beanie Sigel’s loose temper, brutal honesty, and entrenched Philadelphia vernacular, perspective and demeanor made Roc-A-Fella a force to be feared on the charts, on stage, and in the clubs. Although Beanie carried out elements found in the music of his mentor, Jay Z, as well as longtime collaborator, Scarface, Beans made hits on his own, and was successful in launching a pack of unconventional Rap stars. The Broad Street Bully embodied his city in the 2000s, and even as he stretches to make another enduring album, many argue that Dwight Grant is still one of the 215’s all-time greatest.
Other Notable Songs:
A protege of Beanie Sigel, Freeway amplified some of Beans’ attributes with a loud, boisterous delivery that played like an extension of greats like M.O.P., Onyx, and Willie D. A fully-dimensional MC, Freeway seamlessly combined his hustling past with tenants of Islam, presenting a culture, a lifestyle, and a street-life that was never touched upon in the mainstream.
Free’ took hustling songs such as “What We Do” and his breakthrough feature on “1-900-HUSTLER” and brought soul, authenticity, and reality to entertainment. Small in stature, big in vocals, Leslie Pridgen showed another side of Philly than his State Property cohorts. Street-wise, emotional, and at times, loving, this artist remains one of the most innovative Roc-A-Fella Records achievements. In the Jay Z and Dame Dash break-up, Freeway was courted by the likes of 50 Cent and G-Unit, Rick Ross and Maybach Music Group, and other top labels. Still moving like a regional act, this gold-selling MC still regularly does spot dates, guest support work, and always put his movements above himself.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?