Eating Dinner with State Property’s General in a College Dining Hall
I’m not sure the reason, but I haven’t had nearly as many encounters with musicians as I would have expected. I’ve seen ?uestlove in a restaurant and met Nas at an album signing, but the only time I really hung out with an artist was in the dining hall of my college of all places. Future NBA player Rasual Butler and I were somewhere between acquaintances and friends — we knew each other well enough to converse in passing, but we weren’t hanging out on a regular basis. One night, myself and a few friends were sitting at one of the larger round tables with plenty of empty seats in the dining hall when Rasual walks over, puts down his tray and sits at the other side of the table. A second later, a guy sat down next to him.
It was Beanie Sigel.
Beans looked exactly as he did in every video and interview I’d ever seen him in: baggy clothes, bandanna, perpetual scowl, even when he was cracking a joke. This was in 2000, just after The Truth had been released and State Property was beginning to get national attention. Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella were the biggest squad in hip-hop at the time and the entire city of Philadelphia was rooting for Sigel. Aside from the consistent greatness of The Roots, no major rap stars had come out of Philly for several years, so Beanie quickly became the city’s favorite.
He was friendly enough. In all fairness, there was no need for him to even acknowledge me, but he was chill, said, “What up?” to me, and just talked about regular things in life. Everyone, including Jay, always said that one of Beans’s biggest liabilities was that he didn’t change once he had a record deal and an album out and I can substantiate this. For the entirety of the meal, he acted exactly the same as everyone else. It’s what you hope and respect out of artists and celebrities, but that doesn’t always mean it happens.
At the time, and even now, it’s a bit surreal to think that I sat at the same table as the guy that I had been listening to trade verses with Jay-Z and Scarface in my dorm room for months.