Thursday, December 06, 2012

Album Review: Saigon- The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread And Circuses

Album Review: Saigon- The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread And Circuses

Artist- Saigon
Year- 2012
Rating- 8/10

In 2011 New York rapper Saigon released the critically acclaimed album The Greatest Story Never Told. The album was well received and praised for it's conscious content all throughout sky rocketing Saigon to the ranks of the top current artists in Hip-Hop. A year later Saigon releases his sophomore album bringing the listener that same social awareness with the right mix of grittiness Saigon is known for.

The entire album has original production with not a single sample anywhere on it which is extremely rare for rap in these time, it actually may be the only album to do so this year. As expected Just Blaze lends his talents holding a few producer credits, but DJ Corbett produced the majority of the album. Sonically the beats have a more accessible mainstream feel to them, but wouldn't exactly be categorized as “pop”. The sequel has far more features than the first album with Styles P, Chamillionaire, Sticman from Dead Prez, and the returning Marsha Ambrosius providing vocals alongside others.

The intro “Plant The Seed” sets the tone for the album nicely. It touches on how if you were to listen to the music being promoted at this time to try to get a gauge on what is going on in real life at the time you would be completely misguided, a recurring theme throughout the album. The subject of the illusions Hip-Hop gives the listeners is further delved into with the second track and my personal favorite “Rap vs Real” in which Saigon examines the lines between entertainment and real life. “Let Me Run” is one of the aforementioned mainstream accessible songs that I can see being a hate or love song. Somehow the transition from this song to the more street orientated “Not Like Them” feat Styles P, an artist Saigon shares many parallels just feels natural which I find a welcome change from the last song.

Saigon goes back to depicting a portrait in the world we live in today with the following song “Brownsville Girl” which explores scenarios of black on black violence that is all too common in today's youth. Saigon then takes the time to reflect on his musical career with “The Game Changer” stating his purpose as an artist and how the direction he chooses to take with his music has hindered his progress as an artist on the way to stardom. He takes it a step further with his next song “Blown Away” about how influential people in life have their lives stolen from them and alludes to his fear of sharing the same fate. His thoughts culminate to speculation of whether in his death he will find the appreciation he deserves in the first verse of the song “When Will You Love Me”. Saigon trades bars with Lecrae over the topic of finding salvation and appreciation in religion on probably the best produced track on the album “Best Thing I Found”.

The flaws of the album are Saigon's attempts at singing that he should really leave to his features and the fact that a few of these same features add very little to the song in some cases. Saigon's attempts at crossing over also leave a bit to be desired on more than one occasion, but even with these problems the album still manages to be one of the better releases in an already stacked 2012.

The topics on the album are all very diverse ranging from religion, addiction, black-on-black crime, to child care. Pretty much everything that needs to be said right now, but no one puts in their music. If you're one of those people that is looking for an album that could be considered a reflection of the times we live in now, Bread And Circuses is exactly what you're looking for. Some people may criticize Saigon for being simplistic lyrically, but there is more to bars than your syllable count or your punchlines. When you can make a song with a clear message, and make it a good song at that, you're doing something right lyrically. Saigon holds a mirror up to our lives and shows us how things really are past all of the illusions and misdirections other artists try to feed us. There aren't many albums that I would call a classic, but I would go as far as to say that this should be remembered as a classic if only because of how well Saigon depicts life in the black community for this generation. Years from if you wanted to show someone what we had to show for this generation, pop in The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2 and use it as an audio movie.


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