It won't be a waste to spend time with Beanie Sigel and M83
Beanie Sigel'The B. Coming'Rocafella Records
M83'Before the Dawn Heals Us'Gloom/Labels/Mute
Now that school is getting easier, and the workload after-hours nears the non-existent mark, you're probably looking for something new with which to fill your time. Beanie Sigel and M83 have both put out glorious time-fillers of albums this year that won't leave you feeling as if the time you spent with them was wasted.
With Jay-Z retired and Kanye West not exactly repping the classical grimey flows typically associated with RocaFella Records, Beanie Sigel has the weight on his shoulders to continue the formidable legacy left in the wake of Jay's exit.
"The B. Coming" is a fluid performance throughout, which exemplifies exactly why Beans is one of Jay-Z's favorite rappers. With his first album, he had the streets pegging him as the next greatest thing (next Nas, to be exact), but on his second, the fans found him playing too much of the game, rhyming on subjects far from the gritty street poetry he started with. "The B. Coming" is Beanie coming home and finding himself.
Soulful saxophones reverberate throughout the thoughtful reflections on life as a hustler, the influence of the streets on the youth and myriad other subjects that are too often glorified in rap albums.
There's no glorification of the street struggle here; classical narratives and soul searching seek to explain the mindset of a career hustler rather than put it on a pedestal.
; As exciting as some of the guest spots are -- Snoop, Cam'ron, various members of State Property and the Jigga Man himself -- Beanie's rugged flow and engaging rhymes make each guest spot fast-forwardable.
His flow is at times reminiscent of Ice Cube on a wordier day, robust and loud, with a thick flow that makes other MCs on the beat sound weak.
; Sigel has crafted a work which exudes dedication and honesty, and that is definitely something worth spending an hour or so with.
Coupling the emotion of orchestral rock with the ear tinklings of electronica and keeping the fuzz of both, M83's latest album is a work of sweeping tension.
It's the kind of album that is best experienced alone with nothing elses going on.
The music is so tense and thick with texturing that it's comparable to watching an intense movie. Is this note telling me something? Where did that sound come from? What's going to happen next?
All the songs fade into one another, so flipping tracks is like flipping the chapters on a DVD -- not much good if you haven't seen the whole movie already.
Though the tracks depend on each other, there are a few who can stand on their own. "Don't Save Us From the Flames" starts with a rush of synthed-out guitars and banging drums then cascades into a breathtaking quiet buzz and soft vocals lulling the listener toward the abyss.
"Teen Angst," though it sounds nothing like anything, inspires a quiet wave of nostalgia from the ears to your brain that in a few years will surely become actual nostalgia for the sunny days and breezy windows you spent next to while listening to this album.
Bryan Lund is a senior at Mayo High School. To respond to reviews in Sound &; Vision, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.