Hype is at times an MC’s greatest asset. Proper marketing, a strong buzz and a dramatic bio can do wonders for your career – just look at Shyne. Saigon’s rise to moderate hip-hop fame is no different. The Yardfather mixtapes, a few appearances in the rap mags, minor beef with a few New York DJ’s and a bid for most of the 1990s are the makings of a promo guy’s wet dream. On Warning Shots, this Brooklynite makes sure the hype stays strong. A debut LP, The Greatest Story Never Told, is scheduled to hit the stores in 2005, and a few singles during 2003 helped keep his name in the mix. However, without an hors d’orve for this summer, Saigon could potentially fall off the proverbial hip-hop planet. The marketing department knew what they were doing with Warning Shots.
The 18 tracks on the CD are a solid collection of freestyles, bi-polar street kid musings and political statements you won’t likely hear elsewhere, this presidential election season. With 2Pac-esque contradictions, Saigon is equally as mystical; one moment Saigon is celebrating the life of an out-of-control pseudo-celebrity (“Stocking Cap”), and the next he is letting the audience in on his fragile feelings regarding his mother (“If…”). On “Kiss the Babies,” Saigon offers his thoughts on reparations (“If we don’t get our 40 acres, then I think the blacks at least shouldn’t have to fucking pay sales tax/ Gotta give use something back/ GMC should give every black man a damn brand new ‘Lac”). “Papi” finds him negotiating the purchase of an economy-size package of the best the streets have to offer, and his pseudo-cover of “My Favorite Things” would be enough to make Julie Andrews furious. Needless to say, Saigon doesn’t stray too far from his New York hardcore roots.
Nearly seven years in the bing was enough to turn Saigon into the tough griot he is today. Warning Shots offers nothing new in terms of subject matter, and the freestyles can tail off at times. But as he says on an interlude, these are freebies, “Go cop the album.”
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