9 March, 2011@11:29 pm
The mystique of The Greatest Story Never Told is almost as rich as that of Detox; that being a highly-anticipated album with a super-producer attached to it, only to be delayed indefinitely. In the case of Saigon’s debut, it almost seemed like this album wouldn’t come out at all, as he recorded it for Atlantic in 2006, but saw numerous delays as time went on. Reaching the boiling point, Saigon aired out both his label – and to some extent Just Blaze – suggesting the album would live up to it’s title, and *never* be released.
The product of wall-to-wall Just Blaze production and rhymes from one of the finest street emcees around, the project was shrouded in mystery, placing it next to other legendary, unreleased albums, such as King Tee’s Thy Kingdom Come or the aforementioned Detox. Until recently, Saigon was released from his contract via Atlantic, taking the rights to The Greatest Story Never Told, to be released as a joint effort between Just Blaze’s Fort Knox Entertainment and Surburban Noize Records.
The casual listener (meaning the type that says things like “Track 6 is hot!”) won’t realize the brilliance behind Saigon and Just’s magnum opus, as this is a plate to be digested in full. Just like a 2-hour movie that you wouldn’t watch only 23 minutes of, The Greatest Story Never Told has a concurrent theme that runs through it, subtly sewn together, track by track.
The album begins with the tongue in cheek look at the penitentiary system, comparing it to the club-scene, as Q-Tip reprises his role from “Jazz (We Got The)”, shouting out the nation’s prisons one by one, finally landing on “The Abaaaaandon Naaation”. Yes, this was the name of some earlier Saigon mixtapes, but what it actually refers to is the generation of wives and children that are left behind when their husbands/fathers are sent put in jail, as Saigon explains in his verses. But Saigon takes a break from the heavy-handed subject matter to re-introduce himself on the bluesy-bouncy “Dontcha Baby”, propelled by a trademark Swizz Beatz hook and in-tact bonus verse from Jay-Z himself. As one of the early Atlantic singles that was previously releases, it’s still as banging as it was five years ago.
The track sequence itself is what makes The Greatest Story Never Told such a unique piece of work, as each track transcends into the next. For instance, the two-part “Enemies” and “Friends” are back-to-back, as Saigon explores the two-faced nature of those in his inner circle, leading directly into the album’s title track, which touches upon many of the other topics addressed throughout the LP. He takes ‘em to church on “Clap”, then lambastes the collection plate on the brilliantly penned (and produced) “Preacher”. Even the use of autotune on “Believe It” is excusable here, plainly due to how dope they brought it in from it’s preceding track “It’s Alright”. On the former, he delivers a verse that could be summed up as the greatest of his career, defining both his character and the LP itself. “The rap figures throwin’ money in the air, like it’s pizza dough / people in the hood ain’t eatin’ though / I tried to help the label see the vision / but they lowered me to a sub-division / you gotta be fuckin’ kiddin’ / they’d rather me pretend to be something I’m not / I’m the new Public Enemy / I’m different than Yung Joc / And nah, I ain’t dissin’, this nigga’s up in the Forbes / shit I ain’t made a dollar trying to rap for the cause.”
While a bit lengthy, The Greatest Story Never Told is a platform for Saigon to get just about everything off his chest, over the gorgeous production of Just Blaze. He covers a wide variety of topics here, including class, race, the law, prison, the industry, politics, and more. He spits every line with passion on this meticulously produced concept LP, truly living up to what it’s title suggests. Thankfully, nothing could stop him from telling the world his tale.
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