No Trivia

Beanie Sigel’s Balancing Act: “What You Talkin’ About (Average Cat)”

leave a comment

What’s been forgotten since Beanie Sigel released “What You Talkin’ About (Average Cat)”, earlier this week is just how well-rapped the thing is. Just how good Beans is on the song though, is pretty easy to forget, when such a delicate balancing act of a diss song is followed-up by an almost twenty-minute bitch-rant…in video form. That’s the tit-for-tat internet for you though, right?

But really, this is the most solid, determined chunk of rapping from Sigel since The B.Coming. Every word and idea is wisely placed, there’s a concern for meter and syllables, the way he stretches the word “mere” in one line to rhyme with “hairs” in the next–”The mere sight of fiends/Raise the hairs on your back”–or the weird, flurry of Michael Jackson references and something as vicious and nebulous “I can say shit that make ‘B look at you different”–all too a plodding, piano beat and Mobb Deep hook that’s obviously constructed to be the complete opposite of the Euro-house synth party that is the Jay song Beans “answers” here.

Beanie’s also kinda mimicking Jay-Z’s voice–that awkward, scrunched-up nasally accent–which is just funny, but is a subtler way of reminding you just how much Jay really does owe Sigel. Fuck “street cred” and all the dopey stuff Beans still cares about at age 35–that’s no less pathetic than Jay talking “business” in response, just two guys leaning on their proverbial crutches–Sigel is pretty much responsible for making Jay-Z the more complex, introspective rapper he became around the time of Blueprint.

Ever notice how every early “reflective” Jay-Z song, if you thought hard about the lyrics, it was Jay who was the asshole? Beanie brought a sense of self and morality that Jay picked up on. Beans moved Jay away from “thug em’, fuck em’, love em’, leave em” and into a functional, knuckle-head with real feelings. There’s even plenty of examples of Jay swiping Sigel’s flow pretty much wholesale: Compare The Truth’s “Mac Man” and Jay’s “Girls, Girls, Girls”. The joke here is, Jay doesn’t have it in him to get this (publicly) upset about anything and so, on the sincerity tip, and only on the sincerity tip, Beanie Sigle’s victorious.

The point is, this really isn’t just a “diss song”. Yeah, it’s a little too insider-y and all that, but it’s genuine response, with Beans recontextualizing Jay’s song in nearly every way, inhabiting his voice and opinions, and then sitting down and writing an artful rap, that moves between anger and disappointment, violence and distress, and never loses sight of its target. But there’s something unfortunate about the fact that Beans’ rediscovered focus is rooted in being upset and the reality that a shit-load of people’ll actually hear this song, so he better rap cogently.

But what all the zShare hawks get when they put on the “Beanie Sigel Jay-Z Diss” though, is sure, filled with the fruity gossip junk that a diss record requires in 2009, but it’s also downright horrifying. The aforementioned scary-movie beat and the fact that it just sounds like a dude really trying to keep his shit together and then, just kinda exploding at the end, no longer even rapping just ranting. There’s no “oh shit, no he didn’t!” moment to the thing. This song does not make you excited for a follow-up.

further reading/viewing:

-”The Quarterly Report: Albums” (#5 is Beans’ The Broad Street Bully) by Tom Breihan
-Beanie Sigel “What You Talkin About (I Aint Your Average Cat)”
-Jay-Z Responds to Beanie Sigel
-”Beanie Sigel Says If Jay-Z Dont Call Him…”

Written by Brandon

November 6th, 2009 at 2:01 am

Posted in Beanie Sigel, Jay-Z

Leave a Reply