Saigon – The Greatest Story Never Told | Album Review

This year seemingly is the year when all albums classified as “urban myths” finally see the light of day. Dr Dre’s Detox has actually birthed material and Lupe Fiasco’s Lasers is all set for a March release. Whilst we anticipate various other mythical albums (Fugees comeback, Madvillain), one of the most anticipated albums for almost six years is finally released and Saigon’s odyssey to drop The Greatest Story Never Told LP finally ends in 2011.

With label issues, controversy and new arrivals just a handful of reasons for its delay, can the NY disciple of super producer Just Blaze make up for the lengthy delay with a bona fide classic?

A semi-biographical tale, Saigon’s ‘story’ is one of much pain, anger and frustration. ‘The Invitation’ documents numerous dystopian tales of growing up in the projects, which also has Q-Tip on hand, reprising his shout outs from his classic ‘Jazz (We’ve Got)’ on the chorus. A fitting narrator for the streets, Saigon’s end-of-tether flow is ideal for Just Blaze’s immense productions, which is riddled with big riffs, wails and power.

Minus its simple chorus, ‘Bring Me Down Pt. 2’ epitomises the resilience Sai preaches within the four-minute anthem as Blaze offers a mass of big beats and energy. In the title track, Blaze’s empirical horns and strings evoke much power and emotion which adds an aura to Saigon’s belittling of fake thugs.

For all the scenarios which Saigon immensly raps about, there’s still room for a number of fitting collaborations. Faith Evans brings her warm, optimistic filled voice to ‘Clap’, Marsha Ambrosius handles chorus duties on ‘It’s Alright’ and the crowning glory comes on ‘Come On Baby,’ on which Jay-Z once again graces a Just Blaze production as he, Sai and Swizz Beatz strut across it.

Saigon impresses as the hood reporter, shining a light on the ills and frustrations within the inner city. Although more Styles P than Black Thought, Saigon doesn’t mesmerise lyrically but draws in listeners with brutally honest barbs within his stanzas. ‘Preacher’ casts a scornful eye over corrupt ministers whilst ‘Enemies’ metaphorically describes the ‘friend’ which has led so many down a dark and depressing road.

Is this the greatest story never told? Although its a story which has been heard before, Saigon tells his with stellar ferocity over the scorching score provided. An NY album which finally carries enough weight to make a dent on the scene, Saigon’s long awaited album is powered by imposing, reflective rhymes which should gravitate to listeners in yet another period dictated by swagger and flossing.

Some may argue it’s one or two years too late from its ideal release, nevertheless Saigon has indefinitely made up for lost time with a poignant and entertaining LP. Avoid comparing the timeframe with the quality of the project; The Greatest Story Never Told will give hope to the doubters of long-delayed albums’ credentials, proving that some things are indeed worth the wait.

The Greatest Story Never Told is out now via Suburban Noize Records.

Purchase: iTunes US / UK; Amazon US / UK.

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