- Written by DeVon Hyman
It's funny how life works, more specifically the irony of it. As I flipped around on the net the other day I came to a Saigon featuring Styles P visual and wondered what it would have to offer. More of the same? Probably, is what I thought. You've heard many artists proclaim their rebellion against main stream "HIP-HOP," but in a market where "selling out" accompanies a bigger draw and for all intents and purposes, success, how does Saigon maintain? That would be a question for him to answer. The Greatest Story Never Told comes to me when I think of his brand. Such a relatable approach. There are many stories that go unheard, unrecognized, unacknowledged. By the grace of something higher the opportunity to tell his has come, twice. With Part 2 on the horizon, I took a trip up to the Red Offices in Union Square to see just what the sequel had in store.
Saigon opened the night up by describing the album as "more of me and less catering to what I think is wanted, I vowed to make music from the heart." No truer words have been spoken. An easy listen to the content, the lyricism and you you will indeed vouch for the execution of his objective with The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread and Circuses. Thanking us, the media for support, Saigon ran through a great percentage of the album. Seizing his moment as if it were his debut, seemingly a weight was lifted off his shoulders by our response, our head nods, and our attention.
Saigon is not the mainstream-friendly artist that perhaps Atlantic Recordings thought they had circa 2004 when pairing he and up-and-comer Trey Songz for a collaboration:
"They thought I would make a party song, a song about women, and nightlife; I told Trey we were about to make history." -Saigon
Introspectives like this are what the album is founded on. From top to bottom what he played correlated to the prevailing theme, as I have detailed to you, beginning with "The Game Changer" featuring Marsha Ambrosius, which by the end of the night emerged as the odds on favorite for the first single. To date Saigon has released the aforementioned track with Styles P "Not Like Them" as a warm up. Something of a great debate between he and his mind, which he let us in on, as it regards to where it should be placed on the project, and for good reason, The Intro: "Plant the Seed (What U Paid For)" sets the tone of consciousness to be displayed throughout the entire project. In life we all would do just fine getting out of every situation exactly what we put in. "I hope you got what you paid for," Saigon chants.
The next track, "Rap Vs.Real," if you let Saigon tell it, is a product of his creativity. In the studio one night he began to arrange lyrics to the subtle production which, provides the perfect platform for his dissertation on how much of a contradiction rap can be at times. " Rap is not reality" he remarks, "We are not accustomed to much of what we see in the videos, etc. I know in my hood I dont see Bentleys, and the residents do not have money to blow." Duly noted. And factual, if I may so myself. We know there have been some unfortunate cases, but in the metaphorical; a death of their character in a sense when it is found to be falsified. BUT that is the Hip-Hop of old, not the one which is upon us now, where your lyrics more than your resume is held up to the light.
"Let Me Run" was inspired by Outkast's "Bombs Over Baghdad" video which features the visual of kids running across the open field of grass. Of course, it is one of life's mystery's as to where they are running to. We are all in our own right, just running. Ambition dictates that we do not want to be just another one. Originalty turns into praise, freedom of creativity into respect. Mix the two up and what do you have, a possible single.
On the DJ Corbin (Cincinnati, OH native) assisted "Brownsville Girl," we are all reminded of our responsibility to our own. Ever-conscious, Saigon does not stray too much, if at all on the GSNT PT II; After a little bit of headbanging, he centers himself once again. "Hip-Hop is a reflection of our community and when you dont see that reflection, there is a disconnect. Who else to re-connect the pieces but us, the artist(s)." A nearly flawless offering, Saigon speaks on the struggles and plight of so many, be it in the ghetto or abroad. Although one may forget the geographics of their origin, it is not possible to forget to lend a hand, and strive to make change; such as those whom he name drops in "Blown Away." The Martin's (not Margiela), the Malcolm's, the Huey's, the Marley's, the Shakur's, the Clarence Smiths (B.K.A 13X). Those whom have served as martyrs, true revolutionairies, which Saigon undoubtedly models his brand after.
Multi-Platinum selling phenom LeCrae lends a hand on "Best Thing That I Found." Described in it can be music, can be family, but surely a higher power. Take a moment, while listening to this track to be thankful for what you found and the origin of its existence whom, or whatever it may be.
In somewhat of an innovative (search the dictionary you will not find the term) way Saigon tackles the existence of that ever-relatable co-existence any man or woman may have with a member of the opposite sex where you have not quite defined it yet. What you do know is that you are more than friends, and less than entitled. One of the shades of grey, I suppose. What better way to embrace its value, benefit, and above all else reality, with the help on Saigon on "Relafriendship."
In his own way Saigon touches on one of the tragic moments in Hip-Hop 2012, with the passing of one of its greatest ambassadors and contributors, Chris Lighty. To hear him tell it, as a former manager Chris Lighty did so much for him, most imporantly being an ear and a supporter. His abrupt passing left Saigon regretful over missed opportunities to tell him how much he appreciates him, and how much he has learned about having to put his destiny in his own hands. With "Forever Dreaming," he does just that.
18 tracks, 18 ways to personify a revolutionary state of mind. 18 ways to teach, 18 ways to show cause for actually being more than a rapper, but a real person. A conscious one in fact. A leader of any whom chooses to follow, and a champion for existing outside the box. This project is by far one of the best that I have heard this year. Dare I say I was surprised. Ironically I was not, but I will say that what I expected was presented in a better way than I would have imagined.
Salute to the brother Saigon and his Greatest Story Never Told Part 2; In stores November 6th. VOTE FOR SAIGON.
Greatest Story Never Told Part 2 receives a PARL
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