With the year 2012 rapidly coming to an end, releases between now and December 31st will find it tough to break into the ranks of the best releases of the last 365 days. Having said that the artist in question’s latest offering will be welcomed by all, most notably down to the lengthy delay of its prequel. New York’s Saigon births The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread and Circuses just a mere 19 months after the first offering was released. With more of Sai’s signature parables, street tale dissection and collabs from all corners, will this story provide one of the better offerings of 2012 or will it be one story too many for a rapper whom many have become tired of waiting on?
Never one to justify or vindicate the street ways of life, Saigon plays the wise hood veteran with all the gruffness and sensitivity to ensure his stories don’t go unnoticed. “Plant The Seed” begins the album with a dose of reality for all fabricated acts, whilst the following track “Rap vs Real” underlines the clear differences between rap tales and real life circumstances.
An artist whose proclamations of being ‘real’ are clearly evident in song, Sai turns to the average persons on the street and political heroes for inspiration. “When Will U Love Me,” which borrows Canadian songstress Andreena Mill for the chorus, pens heartfelt parables of substance abusing individuals and wayward adolescents, reaffirming his underdog/man of the people status. “Blown Away” turns to an amped rock production from producer DJ Corbett to assist Saigon’s lyrical listing of revolutionary figures in music and politics whose lives were taken prematurely.
At times steering well into the preachy lane, Saigon’s themed verses of overcoming the odds and being real do become a little tiresome. Even when calling out fake thugs with Styles P on “Not Like Them” the exhausted topic results in a passable effort from the respected duo.
But it’s the more honest efforts which really ensure the second chapter of his Greatest Story… doesn’t go unread. Once again teaming up with vocally luscious Marsha Ambrosius on “The Game Changer,” Saigon’s account of what he wishes to achieve in the often short Hip Hop lifespan brings to the forefront a career which previously had promised more. Even on what would be deemed the “track for the ladies,” Saigon’s proud proclamation of being friends with someone he has eyes for on “RelaFriendship” provides more innocent substance than the usual soppy material rappers often churn.
This time bounded by no expected release date, which somewhat crippled his first release, The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2 is recited with a freeness which allows the Just Blaze-mentored emcee to rhyme with ease and produce some much merited cuts, with DJ Corbett (who also handles chorus duties at times) also providing heat for the rapper’s gruff, unapologetic bars. Although less of a grand event than the previous chapter, Bread and Circuses unearths enough insightful gems to maintain Saigon’s status of a rapper who aims for the listeners hearts than the industry’s accreditation.