In light of Beanie’s new album This Time dropping August 28th, (and his pending prison sentence — but we won’t dwell on this), what better time than now to do a LLLT  post on “Feel It in the Air”. I’ve always loved this track for the silkiness of Beans’ delivery and the very subtle, yet poignant production. Little did I know at the time, the horns and simple drum pattern I loved were created at the hands of the late, great Heavy D. (RIP). And while it seems like a straight forward record, a lot of controversy and rumors spread upon its release.

To put the song in context, in 2004, Beans was set to do a year-long prison bid for weapons and drug possession charges. Around that time, Jay-Z was appointed president of Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella. Beanie’s album The B. Coming, which included this track, was released on the newly founded Dame Dash Music Group rather than Roc-A-Fella, while the rest of State Property remained with Hov. (I’m not going through the history of the Damon Dash/Jay-Z feud…look it up.) Anyway, the song essentially questions the loyalty of Beanie’s peers, friends and ultimately the State Property group in its entirety.


My Spider senses is tinglin’
Feel somethin’, got my radars up

For those who never read comics as a kid, Spider Man’s spidey senses always tingled (pause) when he knew something was suspect in the environment around him…

[Verse 1]
Somethin’ goin’ on, I feel funny can’t tell me nuttin’ different
My nose twitchin’
Intuition settin’ in like Steve vision
I still close my eyes, I still see visions

“Steve Vision” is a reference to Stevie Wonder, who, as we all know, is blind…so what does it mean? It’s a scientific fact that when a person loses one of their 5 senses, another one is heightened – in this case, Beanie’s intuition.

Still hear that voice in the back of my mind
So what I do? I still take heed, I still listen
I still paint that perfect picture
I still shine bright like a prism
My words still skipping – through air
I know you can’t, don’t, won’t get it
You niggas chose to ride that ship, sunk with it
I’m still a float, I ain’t the captain of the yacht but I’m on a boat
I ain’t acting what I’m not

The human eye can’t actually see through a prism, well, at least mine can’t. What I do know however, is whenever you shine a white light through a prism it creates a rainbow – actually, it shines the entire color spectrum, which is why Beanie is motivated to “shine like a prism”. At the same time, it’s alleged that the latter half of the verse was shade thrown at Jadakiss and the Ruff Ryders camp during their ongoing feud, but it’d make more sense if it was geared towards the rest of State Property and their new ‘captain’ Jay-Z.

Knowing that I don’t, you niggas acting like you will but I know you won’t, you won’t
I read between the lines of your eyes of your brows
Your handshake ain’t matching your smile
I’ll holla, you niggas foul

You can tell when someone is being fake as hell. This section is pretty self-explanitory, lol. And since it’s 2012, let’s do a PSA: STOP SUBTWEETING PEOPLE. “I read between the lines of your 140 characters”.

I can feel it in the air
I can feel it in the air
I can feel it in the air
I can hear it in your voice
I can feel it in the air

[Verse 2:]
I sit alone in my 4 cornered room staring at hammers
Ready to go bananas
2 vests on me, 2 techs, extra clips on me
I know my mind ain’t playing tricks on me
I ain’t skitz hommie
Ain’t nobody drop a mick on me
It’s like they tryna plot a set on me

The first and second last lines are referring the Geto Boys’ track “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”, a song that essentially talks about thinking you’re crazy, yet it’s all in your head. “Hammer” is a slang word for a gun, popularized in songs like Mobb Deep’s “Get Away”. I found out that one meaning of ‘mick’ is used in the British phrase “taking the mickey out of someone/something”, which means ridiculing them and taking away their pride….but this line can be interpreted in several ways given the grammar of the line. It’s up in the air. (See what I did there?) And the last line refers to Beans’ pending year-long bid, an arrest he presumed was set up. If anything, these few lines (especially “2 vests, 2 techs [9s, a gun], extra clips”) reveal the immense lack of trust Beanie had at the time for those around him.

I hear this voice in the back of my mind
Like mack tighten up your circle
Before they hurt you
Read they body language
85% communication non-verbal, 85% swear they know you
10% you know they story, man the other 5… time’ll show you, just know you

Communication Theory meets Five Percenter beliefs. It’s true, 85% of communication is non-verbal…every time your body moves, you are communicating something. Meanwhile, the Five Percent Nation of Islam believes in a theory called “85-10-5”. 85-10-5 breaks down into the following: 85% of people are ‘dumb, deaf and blind’ to the knowledge of themselves and God, 10% of people are intelligent (i.e. successful criminals) but use their knowledge for ill will, and the remaining 5% of people on this earth educate and spread knowledge in the most righteous (hence “righteous poor teachers”, like Gandhi) way.

Then pull they strings, you the puppet master
Fuck them other bastards
Man watch who you puffing after
Play your cards, go against all odds
Shoot for the moon, if you miss
You still amongst those stars

Well, this is pretty obvious. At the end of the day you can only trust yourself, so trust no one and achieve your dreams by any means necessary.

[Verse 3]
Can you feel it, can you feel it floating?
Without picture quoting, scriptures from revelation
Talk shit and got the devil waiting
Body get stiff, so levitate
Why do I speak blasphemy?
Knowing one day that he’ll ask for me
Ask for my sins
No one’ll feel his wrath for me
I go through it, so you wouldn’t do it…after me

The gist of this verse is reference to the Christian faith (The Book of Revelation, “the Devil”), though Beans is a ‘believer’ of the Islamic faith. I’m not sure whether he’s a practicing Muslim or what religion he was raised to believe, but this verse is a reflection of his past and the sins he’s committed. At the same time, he acknowledges the fact that his career hasn’t lead him to being the best individual he could be and he struggles, (like many), wondering what will happen when his day comes and he’s questioned about what he’s done with his life.

As for me
I’m still circling the block before I’m parking
Not bitching, I’m just still cautious
Same black parka, same uzzi, extra clips, still clapping with that same larking
Damn, I feel it in the air, you not sincere
Nigga it ain’t an us, or we, or I’ma thing
It’s a good/bad karma thing
This a song man the honest sing
I swear I feel something honestly

“Still circling the block before I’m parking” is a direct reference to his decision on what label/team he would rather be associated with, while saying that he’s “still cautious” of those around him. At the end of the day, Beanie Beanie re-signed with Roc-A-Fella in 2006 and severed his ties with them in 2009.

This may be one of Beanie’s most intimate songs. The vulnerability, the fear, and the state of confusion he was in was clear-cut and evident throughout this track. It’s his story at a time hip-hop history was changing.

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