This writer won’t make this review another bitter summation of Saigon’s [click to read] record industry woes, or plead to record labels to let his shelved Just Blaze-produced The Greatest Story Never Told album see the light of day. At some point, you have to move on and work with what you’ve got—and with two releases, a music video for “Gotta Believe It,” and a beef with Joe Budden [click to read] under his belt from these past two years, it looks like Saigon is doing just that.. Less than half a year after dropping All In The Day’s Work [click to read] with Statik Selektah [click to read], Saigiddy is hoping to recapture the energy from his seminal 2004 mixtape, Warning Shots [click to read], with a sequel.
Certain tracks here show everything that Saigon fans have come to love: honesty, a passion for uplifting and educating impressionable youth, and a blunt, no frills delivery. “Nothing Comes Easy” and “That’s Not What’s Up” see Sai diverting listeners from street life and prostitution by frankly showing its downfalls, while he uses the touching “Fatherhood” to tell his young daughter how much he loves her. And thankfully, Saigon has a few top notch beats at his disposal: Oddisee [click to read] serves a hot plate for the Lil Fame-assisted “Rusty Gunz” (also known as “WWIII” from Oddisee’s A Rosenberg Oddisee EP last year), Scram Jones’ percussion-heavy “Sai Intro” bangs, and Just Blaze himself offers the piano-driven, Reggae-tinged “Who Can Get Busy.”
But unfortunately, too much of Warning Shots 2 plays like a record from an emcee who’s let the industry get to him. Aside from the previously leaked “Gotta Believe It” and a few of the aforementioned tracks, while Warning Shots 2 has decent songs, it lacks the fiery, engaging aura that gave replay value to its predecessor. Whether it’s wishful thinking for The Greatest Story Never Told or more Just Blaze tracks, it just feels like there’s something missing. “For Some Pussy,” the OJ Da Juiceman-featured remix, and “Copping Pleas” offer promising concepts of clowning desperate skirt-chasers and passively aggressive e-thugs, but wack beats or corny execution keep them from living up to Sai’s raw, idealistic standards. And “Cookies And Milk” is a low point of Sai’s career, as he uses a “Lollipop”-imitating backdrop to spit trite sex rhymes. Saigon has said in interviews that he intentionally makes songs like “For Some Pussy” to bring listeners in and teach them with his other songs, but if that’s a bed that Sai is willing to fix, he should be equally willing to lie in it.
As certain offerings here show, Saigon hasn’t completely lost it. he’s still got the skills—and more importantly, the purpose—to be a force to be reckoned with, even if it’s not in a major label situation. Still, Warning Shots 2 will likely end up being a forgettable release in his catalog. But if anything, Sai has shown persistence, so the next trick up his sleeve should be worth checking for.