Roc-A-Fella rapper Beanie Sigel raised some eyebrows when word got out that “All the Above,” the first single from his upcoming album The Solution (out Dec. 11) would feature a hook from R. Kelly — a guy who’s on none-too-friendly terms with Beanie’s longtime mentor, Jay-Z. But the collab went off without a hitch, and I recently got a chance to talk to Beanie days after he finished making a video for the song.
First, he shared some harrowing details from the Chi-town shoot: “You hear how I’m stuffed up, I’m congested? From that 70th-floor roof [set location]. Yo, it was cool, but Chicago got the right name, the Windy City. It was freezing! I wasn’t cold at the time, ’til the next day I woke up, like, I didn’t know if somebody beat me up in my sleep!” (As someone who happens to be fighting off some epic sinus congestion right now, I so sympathize.) What’s more, he promised the clip would be “not the average Beanie Sigel video, but something edgy, on the cinematic side of things.” The video made it to the Web this week; peep it below, and check out my take after the jump.
Well, the clip opens with a rooftop scene in which Beans urgentlyasks Kells to take care of a persistent itch that’s been bothering him:”It’s hard for me to reach that itch… I figure you could help mescratch that itch.” This is apparently some sort of underworld slang,but still, ick. (Beans elucidated the video’s fictional storyline forme as follows: “I had a little altercation in Philly, and myaltercation had hitout in Chicago, so I came out to talk to the top Chicagoboss, who would be R. Kelly.”) Whatever; I’m happy for any chance toenjoy Kells’ gifts as an actor,and Beanie has a decent gravelly-mafioso thing going on. Anyway,thenarrative pretty much disappears by the 00:45 mark, replaced byperformance scenes in which Kelly swings a cane through the air andBeanie rocks a bright-orange bubble jacket that makes him look a littlelike the Great Pumpkin.
Look, the important thing is, nothing here gets in the way of the song, which I dig (though I might be alone on that). I’ve been rooting for Beans to score a real crossover hit since I heard his career-making cameo on The Roots’ “Adrenaline” eight years ago. If “All the Above” helps him do it, sorta-silly video and all, more power to him. Right?