Every few weeks I take a trip down to Fulton Avenue in Brooklyn to pick up the latest mixtapes. It’s a way for me to keep my ear on the latest bangers and freestyles from established and rising artists. The adage has proven true: What was hot in the streets last year is now just jumping off in the mainstream.
After gracing the cover of Elemental Magazine, making Rolling Stone‘s “Ten Artists to Watch” in 2004 and joining the Source‘s unsigned hype, Saigon is ready to blow. But before he releases his upcoming first full-length, Saigon dropped the aptly titled Warning Shots: Street Classics and Freestyles as an appetizer. And Warning Shots reveals that the Brooklyn emcee has the goods to transform a mixtape career into an MTV career.
It’s a random assortment of tracks, ranging from the nursery-rhyme inspired “Favorite Thingz” to the super ugly “Drama Hour Freestyle.” On “Stocking Caps,” Alchemist flexes his production skills with a soulful joint that Saigon absolutely rips up and leaves for dead. Saigon gets creative on “Pop Quiz,” where he asks such burning questions as this: “First question is for motherfuckers that spitting this other thug shit/ You claim you blow out a nigga brain, then what color was it?”
The best content on Warning Shots are Saigon’s freestyles at the end of the album. On the “Whoo Kid Freestyle,” he proves why he is worthy of the hype, spitting, “As a matter of fact/ What’s the matter with rap/ Crackers done did it again/ They jacked us for that/ Same way they did Fats Domino’s phenomenal track/ But I’m the rap Geronimo Pratt so brat.”
Saigon has won over the media, but making the jump from freestyling to composing songs is treacherous. In order for artists like Saigon to become successful, he has to overcome the buzz — and expectations — created by his mixtapes, and the true test will be his forthcoming LP, due out early 2005. But until then, Brooklyn keep on taken it.