Well well well, we finally have it. After years of waiting Saigon‘s long awaited album has been released. If you’ve never heard of him, I wouldn’t be surprised, his buzz was big back around 2003/2004 at the same time as Papoose, when both were basically thought of as part of the new wave of NYC rappers. Neither put out an album until now, with Papoose slowly fading into total obscurity.
The album had considerable problems since around 2007 when it was originally due to be released, but sample clearances were blamed as well as Atlantic wanting a more pop/chart dominated hip hop album. Since then Saigon has left the label whilst owning the full album to release it via Suburban Noize Records.
Well I guess the important question is, was it worth the wait? The simple answer is yes. Yes it was. Saigon is a conscious rapper ex jailbird who rhymes with a ferocious delivery but sticks to his roots. He has ‘the streets’ on his side as well as the ability to create songs that could be successful singles. In a way he reminds me of DMX, though I’ve seen more comparisons to Nas floating about online. Think of 50 Cent in mentality/personality but without the nursery rhymes.
The album’s production is largely handled by Just Blaze, super producer for the likes of Jay-Z, Kanye West, Eminem and others. This is almost like Just Blaze’s pet project having been Saigon’s mentor for many years (before that Saigon worked with Mark Ronson on multiple occasions, including the hit ‘Oooh Wee’look out for another collab in the future). Kanye West does produce the track ‘It’s Alright’ whilst DJ Corbett created ‘Too Long’.
Features on the album include Jay-Z on the hugely uptempo and what could be a club hit ‘Come On Baby’ remix with Swizz Beats on the hook. Though this is one of a few tracks that were created a few years ago, they still sound fresh and fit the album well. Rap heavyweights Black Thought & Bun B also appear with Faith Evans and Devin The Dude providing some great vocals.
My favourite tracks are,
‘Come on Baby’remix ft Jay-Z, Swizz Beats – This song is pretty much the only ‘club banger’ on the album but it’s just bursting with energy, with the Hov vocals maybe even slowing the frantic pace of the track down, which is a very rare thing to happen. This had a big buzz when it first leaked around 2-3 years back and a video was made, so I can only hope it returns back into Dj’s circulation!
‘It’s Alright’ ft Marsha Ambrosius – This Kanye West produced track is what you’d expect, full of soulful melodies, glorious vocals from the brilliant Marsha and deep lyrics from Saigon himself. It’s a welcomed break from one super producer to another and is a great listen.
‘Believe It’- I swear T-Pain did the vocals on this but he doesn’t seem to be credited with it, anyway this is another very strong track that could easily obtain heavy radio play but also deals with the more down to earth day to day issues we all face. Saigon uses his topical raps to great effect, especially on here.
Overall whilst a long time coming, this album really is a great offering from Saigon, especially with the delay comes a huge expectation on delivery, especially as Saigon himself declared it the greatest hip-hop album of the last 20 years… whilst I don’t agree with this at all, equally it didn’t quite cause me to spit my Tea out all over my desk… it’s a very good album and fully deserves all the plaudits it shall hopefully receive. Check it out, judge for yourself what you think of the rapper who against all odds managed to tell his great story.
Written by Daniel French