It’s been an interesting year for the New York underground kingpin to say the least. Last February was the month Saigon finally released his long awaited “Greatest Story Never Told” LP which was originally supposed to drop in 2007 but was shelved by Atlantic records for the remainder of his contract. After finally being distributed by Just Blaze’s Fort Knox label, the album was an Illustration of Sai-giddy’s lyrical prowess demonstrating intelligent sentiments and social awareness but still retaining that gutter vibe that has been firmly in place since the first instalment of his warning shots mixtape series.
“Warning Shots 3: One Foot In The Grave” weighs in at a meaty 19 tracks and showcases a plethora of production giants reflecting Saigon’s healthy relationship with some of New York’s heaviest beat conductors and juxtaposing the element of a premier cast that GSNT featured. Green Lantern and Scram Jones both contribute and Fort Knox label head Just Blaze imprints his trademark neck snapping sounds on the product producing arguably the best beats on the project.
The mixtape begins with a conversation between Saigon and Just Blaze who sound just blazed to be honest, muttering some random dialogue which instantly has you skipping to the next track which is the Sire produced “BBB”. The track features a Buju Banton vocal sample paying homage to the dancehall legend with an almost ragga approach to his delivery at one point saying ‘we do it for Bob Marley, Marcus Garvey, probably all the Rastafari’. Saigon’s don’t give a fuck attitude shines through instantly and gives the mixtape an aggressive feel from the word go.
“I Am 4 Real” bangs hard and is easily the dopest cut on the mix. This DJ Corbett heater also carries a nice vocal sample on the hook taken from Outkast’s “Mrs Jackson” and adds another level of atmosphere to the track sitting comfortably over the Brooklyn native’s intricate patterns and technical structure within his bars. “Bring Me Down”, a Just Blaze and DJ Corbett cut, induces heads to nod mode and features Saigon and Joe Budden spitting verses back and forth almost trying to outdo each other which makes for some heavyweight lyricism and wordplay; ‘I’m like aggravating the bull / only thing that can bring me down is gravitational pull.’
“Say Yes” is a strong addition to the track list and continues the hard hitting, bitch slapping level of content as does “Come Again 2012″. Jovan Dais lends his soothing vocals on “Women Are The New Dogs” which has Sai suggesting women are the new players questioning who’s playing who in the relationship ‘and I’m thinking I’m doing her dirty/ thinking she good, thinking she’s not hurt worthy/ and no not for a sec did I expect she was still giving sex to her ex till I checked. At this point in the project the Red Spyda beat sounds refreshingly mellow in contrast to the previous tracks.
Unfortunately, the tape takes a turn for the worse here and it feels like the rapper just threw whatever masters he had lying around in the mix to bulk up the tracklist. “Kinky” and “When Did You Get Hot” really let Saigon down in the lyricism department and are genuinely painful to listen to. Don’t even get me started on the hooks. Shit sounds like Spank rock on PCP.
Insert a couple of pointless skits, a standard Green Lantern banger (cutdabullshit,cutdabullshit), an extremely lame feature from Lil fame and some more street savvy, fist through your nose bone bars and you pretty have what makes up the rest of the mixtape. After recently claiming that he now wants to release music more consistently following his record label horror story which left him in artist limbo for a good three years, I’m not too sure that is the best option if this is going to be the level of quality in the records. Don’t get me wrong Saigon is an extremely tight rapper in the right context but it seems quantity is more important than to him than a solid release and he should learn from this.