Currently serving a two-year prison sentence for tax evasion, Beanie Sigel should be going out on a high.

But the Philly rapper's first record since beefing with Jay-Z and "retiring" in 2011 is a throwback to rap days of old - and not in a good way.

This Time, Sigel's sixth studio album, is full of second-tier soul-rap, with stale production and rushed rhymes leaving little impact.

Even fading star Akon shows up on the stuttering That's All I Know, a tune so laid-back you'll forget everything about it as soon as it ends.


Elsewhere, the reggae horn stabs of Bang Bang Youth are a mildly memorable attempt at tackling social issues, but it's deflated by the ridiculous chorus of Bad Boy Mack: "I'm a bad boy, I do bad things, I start trouble, you can't touch me."

If you think that's woeful, This Time hits its nadir on the Kenny G-style trumpets of Kush Dreaming and the lounge room groove of Expensive Taste.

On the flipside, Sigel shows the grizzly energy of old over the dubstep whines of No Hook, and the breakbeat funk of The Reunion is done with passion and panache. "I'm a product of the 80s," raps Sigel at one point.

The problem is that it's 2012, and rap has come a long way. Sigel should have plenty of time to chew over that fact while he's behind bars.

Stars: 2/5
Verdict: Locked-up rapper's parting serve