The Saigon Interview

April 26, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Interviews | Leave a comment

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The authenticity and street credibility of a rapper can oftentimes be used to jump start their career before then they can even record an album. How many times have you heard about a rapper’s war stories before you’ve even listened to their music? Does it really matter how many ki’s a rapper sold or how many bodies they’ve caught? Well, if they’re rapping about all these things, then I guess it does. In any case, Saigon has been a name that’s been buzzing in barbershops, street corners, and online all-alike for the last several years. The Yardfather has been busy in the lab cooking up his

Knock’s debut album, “Greatest Story Never Told” with Jus Blaze, Abandoned Nation, and Hip-Hop Since 1978. Though he is a product of the street, Saigon is not just another rapper talking that gangsta shit, “You got people that advocate it and glamorize it when they only show ‘em one side of it. They show the crip walk and the flag hangin’ out, but they don’t show the dead nigga layin in the casket, why don’t you show em that part. Show em’ the harsh realities of this lifestyle,” Saigon explains the problems with exploiting street life on wax.

When are we going to hear the album, it feels New York has been waiting a lifetime for The Greatest Story Never Told?


Saigon: I’m guaranteeing the best Hip-Hop album in the last 20 years. Guaranteed to change the game, but it’s gonna do more then change the game, it’s going to change life; the state of life for a lot of people in America because it’s the unadulterated truth. I mean like actual truth, the things people think about everyday, hear about, but don’t wanna say because they scared of the repercussions or what’s going to happen. It’s the same things I been spitting but it’s me a lil bit more advanced. Jus Blaze and Kanye pretty much did my whole album, so you can imagine what the production is like and I know how to pick beats. I got the best outta of Jus and Kanye and… Greatest Story Never Told, July 31st.


Is this album going to be different from what is being released in Hip-Hop today or from at least what is being forced on to the public ?


Saigon: I’m not even into Hip-Hop right now, I don’t wanna be subliminally influenced by nothing because I’m in my zone, so I’m not listening to any rap right now. I haven’t heard anything out there that inspires me. I will say that there’s not been an album in the past 20 years that is going to better then mine. My shit is better then Illmatic.


Damn, 20 years that’s a pretty confident statement. You know Illmatic got 5 mics, right?


Saigon: Yall gonna have to give me another mic, 5 and ½ mics or something.


Why though, what’s Saigon bringing that’s not already been heard. You’ve always been known to be on some like “educated thug shit”.


Saigon: My shit ain’t even educated thug shit. It’s so beyond that. My shit is like… I feel like a politician that’s running for office…( Source VP. Julie Als walks by) Oh My God, stop distracting me Julie (laughs). Yea , you know I just think because the content of the music, the timing now with all the diamonds and bullshit in rap. It’s getting repetitious, it’s not important no more. We know if you sold a few million records you can afford a diamond that’s not a secret. If you still talking about “ look I got ice” 3 albums in. You shouldn’t be allowed to make another fuckin record unless you come up with something new to talk about. There should be a committee; matter of fact The Source should start a committee to where yall bash anybody who talks about the same thing that they talked about for three, four years. This shit is artistic, that’s like a person drawing the same picture over and over again, trying to impress you. “Look son, you showed me that picture last time”, you’re not an artist if you can’t come up with new ideas. Creativity is lacking, really the record companies and radio got a lot to do with it because everybody is trying to make a radio hit. One thing I didn’t do is try to make a “radio hit”, I didn’t try to make radio songs. You see the 1st song I leaked and that was not a single. I put out “Pain In My Life” on my own.


With that also what do you think of the comparisons and similarities of Ludacris’s verses from Runaway Love with Mary? Do you feel like it took some of shine away from your joint.


Saigon: Yea, yea I feel like it did. I’m not insinuating Ludacris stole my shit, but we met for the 1st time in August when my record was out and his wasn’t, and he told me that he loved my record and he didn’t mention about the one he had. He didn’t say “ yo I got one just like it”. He didn’t say nothing.  See what I’m sayin and my record goes “ Young Felcia was only four when she learned how to ride a bike…”, his record goes “Little Erica is only five years old, she trying…”. Come on doggy, I call a spade, a spade something smells fishy. (laughs) and you know what’s funny I’m glad that he came out with it because it gave my me power at my label. My label didn’t want to put a dime behind my record. They were like “ you can’t dance to this in the club”. Every fuckin record doesn’t have to be club song.


Records that used to get played in clubs weren’t “club songs”,


Saigon: Exactly, they usually have the same tempo or catch phrase that everyone can sing along too, and make people buy into it and the label didn’t understand my record. Then they saw
Luda’s do well in radio and win a grammy and perform. That gave me a little bit more leeway. Then came the bbbut,bbb,bbbut, the stutterings. Bbbut that’s Ludacris, so what muthafucka. I’m Saigon, I’m not Ludacris but there was point in his career, when he was at my stage. The labels are followers, they don’t wanna develop artists anymore, spend time. They wanna cut and paste what is already out, just copy.


How has Jus-Fort Knoxx and Hip-Hop Since 1978 been supported you in giving you the artistic freedom to make music however way you feel?


Saigon: It’s like you gotta find a happy medium, you gotta find a way to where everybody is happy because if the label is not happy their not going to spend the marketing dollars that you need, if they don’t believe in your shit, there’s no way you’re going to get that extra push that you need. That’s kind a of why it took so long with my project, it was finding that happy medium to where everybody was happy. “Ok, we can finally agree of this, they gonna put up the money up that I need, and I don’t feel like I’m compromising my sound and what I’m about and we met in the middle. Jus Blaze is a genius man, I gotta give him so much credit. I think this album is gonna put him up there with the Dre’s and all them. Everybody knows he can make dope beats but nobody ever seen what he can do with one artist.

True, you mean like actually sitting down with the artist and coming up with concepts…


Saigon: Yea, not just giving a dude a beat being like there go make a song. My album don’t stop from when you turn it on to the end there’s no space. It all flows together. It’s like reading a book that’s why I called it Greatest Story Never Told. Each song is like a chapter, imagine reading a book and chapter 3 had nothing to do with chapter 2, it wouldn’t make sense. It might be a good chapter but you like “damn that had nothing to do with what the fuck you were just talking about.”


So can people who can’t relate to your story or who are from a different environment relate to your music?


Saigon: My shit is for everybody because I don’t glamorize the street. Why try to glamorize something when their nothing glamorize about it. Anybody that’s really in the street know that’s something that you’re trying your hardest to get the fuck out of, anybody who really came up out of the hood hard knows. You might say that shit once, but there’s no need to keep emphasizing it.


Especially now from the majority of the music, there’s a real twisted picture about what it’s like in New York hand to hand sales, crowded blocks with fiends, doesn’t really go on like it used to.


Saigon: If you even still thinking about the crack game man… hell no. That’s why a lot of down South artists that even talk about that shit now, regardless of whether they gonna like me for saying this or not they were always years behind us because my family is from the South. When I would go down South and I had on some new sneakers muthafuckas would think I was from the future, son. “ Oh my god, where did you get these from??”Man, I copped these shits on the corner ( laughs) even with the music. I’d come down there with the new Rakim tape, same reaction. Anybody that had fam. Down South knows what I mean, growing up in the 80’s going down there. Now, it’s reversed they got their own style with the grills, all that.


Word, have you been Down South in minute, how’s love you get from there?


Saigon: I always go down south and always get a lot of love, mad love. One thing, real recognize real, man. Not to sound cliché, but I just mean genuine people can tell who else is genuine. I don’t have no hate or animosity in my heart for nobody at all. Unless, you do something to me that’s the only way I would have that ill feeling toward anybody. Nowadays in Hip-Hop we built to tear each other down, we see another person come up we like fuck that I gotta bring him down. Look at the all “rap beef” we have going on now. To me that only markets and promotes the idea that black people don’t have no unity at any level. When we in the hood, we got excuses “nigga I’m broke, starving.” These are millionaires that still feel like they gotta go at each other throats.



What about the argument when rapper’s claim that they are just telling a story?


Saigon: We know that story, you not telling us something that we don’t know, so who is your music targeted too. You can’t preach to the choir, you preaching to the choir by saying “yo it’s fucked up in the hood”, who don’t know that. These dudes emphasize it, and they tell themselves this is what’s good and what’s selling right now. The label’s don’t want us to start thinking, they don’t want us to get smart because they make money off our ignorance the more ignorant we seem the more money they make.


They say “ignorance is bliss”, well if that’s true, then bliss may equal to a generation of young people lost in their own quest of money and jewels. The irony of the situation is that Hip-Hop started as a voice for the people but was lost when the culture started generating billions of dollars and the corporate take over began. “Artists that are really about something, they don’t get the same push as a negative person that’s pushing poison gets, not even half,” voiced Saigon on his views of many record company’s harmful practices. The beauty of Saigon’s pending success and longevity is that it won’t matter how many records he sells in his first week, or how many singles he gets. Saigon is one of last to represent a breed of emcee’s that were gangsta before they ever rapped guns or drugs on records. “Greatest Story Never Told” like I said if it ain’t the best album that you ever heard. You see me in the street and I will personally refund your money,” in true boss form, Sai-Giddy makes tgem an offer they can’t refuse.


Mikey Fresh


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