Throughout the multiple delays of Saigon’s The Greatest Story Never Told, one of the main things to keep him in the public eye was a stint on HBO’s “Entourage,” where he more or less portrayed himself. Releasing a steady stream of independent projects surely didn’t hurt, but being cast as a fledgling rapper also named Saigon while getting an HBO check was essentially paid promotion. During an appearance on the Hypemen podcast, Scott Vener, who served as the musical director for “Enoutourage,” explained how another up and coming emcee almost got the part.
“Gee [Roberson] and [Kyambo] ‘Hip Hop’ [Joshua] were managing Just Blaze,” Vener recounted. “One of the producers on Entourage, Steve Levinson, and Gee had a mutual friend. They were introduced to Just and heard a mixtape with Saigon and Jay-Z on it, and that was enough for them to think he was going to be the next hottest rapper. They didn’t know too much about Hip Hop to know what underground music was like. We wanted to have Turtle manage somebody on the show, and that was a character that was going to be explored.
As “Entourage” viewers will remember, Saigon’s character first appeared towards the end of season two, and enjoyed a memorable run. However, another emcee could have just as easily had the part if his label didn’t essentially issue a warning.
“I remember pitching Young Jeezy; we were talking to him about being on the show,” Vener added. “But Def Jam was concerned that he might not show up to set every time we wanted him to be there, because he kind of did his own thing. We went with Saigon out of consideration of all the mutual friends involved.”
Saigon’s character arch ended in 2006 during episode 10 of season three. When the show was in syndication and on DVD it provided a moderate amount of buzz while Saigon was in limbo with Atlantic Records. And, despite not becoming a fixture on “Entourage,” Young Jeezy continues to enjoy a successful career. The entire Hypemen podcast, featuring commentary from Jensen Karp, Eric and Jeff Rosenthal and Ben Baller is available at via the Hypemen Tumblr page.