Recently, I presented at the 15th annual Fathers and Family Coalition of America conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. My presentation focused on how fathering practitioners can use their life experience as a springboard to reach and teach fathers about the importance of their role as fathers. During my presentation one of the young fathers asked a very courageous question. Like many single fathers, he gets his son every other weekend and he questioned the significance of his time with his son. He stated that when he picks up his son on Fridays, before you know it the weekend is over and now he has to wait 12 days to see him again. He wanted to know what he could do to maintain his relevance.


Ever since Olivia Pope came on the scene a couple of years ago she has dominated the social media news feeds of Urban America.  She has elements of many women we all know and it's great having a familiar face on television to look to.  When Mary Jane Paul emerged on the scene a year or so ago, things got real.  Now that Being Mary Jane is a full season in, and with Scandal three seasons in, we figured it was time to look at the women that are these characters.  Given the chance who would you choose to date, to be a friend to?  Who could you actually stand to be around?


The latest Jason Derulo album, Talk Dirty, is chock full of party anthems and “get hype” tracks. The album starts off with Jason’s new smash hit, "Talk Dirty" (featuring 2 Chainz), which has spent the last sixteen weeks near the top of Billboard’s “The Hot 100” and currently sits at number four. Derulo has brought in many other popular Hip-Hop artists to collaborate on this record, including Snoop Dogg, TYGA, Kid Ink, and Pitbull. 


There was a huge debate recently about the Mt. Rushmore of the NBA.  Choosing the four greatest players to have ever played the sport of basketball proved to be quite the challenge and there is still no clear and decisive agreement on just four. The Mt. Rushmore of Hip-Hop may prove to be just as difficult, but we figured we'd give it a try and see what the readers think.


It’s a Marlon Wayne’s movie what do want me to say? It was bleeping hilarious. Literally as soon as the movie started the theatre was roaring in laughter and I’m not even exaggerating. The opening scene was arguably the most funny (actually during the Q&A after the screening an audience member said it was his favorite part). Co-star Affion Crokett is one of the first characters you’re reintroduced to and he had my stomach hurting early. I’m going to just say that I would’ve liked to see more of him in the film. Hey, Marlon told us to be honest in our critiques. With that said though, the film still surpassed the expectations of a sequel. 


Who would have ever thought a shy girl from Beaufort, South Carolina would be American Idol's Season 12 winner. She's grown a lot since only being able to sing for her parents. Life has changed for Candice Glover. Her Season 12 win is actually her third attempt at auditioning for American Idol. She's proven that she believes in herself. It was nothing short of courage to be able to face many at a third shot on the show to prove that she had what it took to take home the crown, even if she didn't know for sure herself at the time. She's motivated so many to go after what they want and to never give up. WIth the recent release of her debut album, Music Speaks, and her single, "Cried," Glover continues to motivate women everywhere.  Read the full interview to get Candice Glover a little better...


 
 

 

 

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

 

Rating:
P…Horrible
PA…Tolerable
PAR…Good
PARL…Kinda Great
PARLÉ… Classic

 


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About The Author
DeVon Hyman
Author: DeVon Hyman
New York City's own DeVon Hyman, also writes under the pseudonym Basquiat. He is working hard to become one of the rising stars in the writing game. With his unique style and imagery, he has carved out a nice niche of consistency and depth in diction. Whether it pertains to interviewing the games up and coming stars, as well as established artists, DeVon has shown that he can handle his own expressively. This diligence has made him someone to definitely keep your eye on.

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