by Abdul Al-Nakhli
It was a rainy Thursday night in Pittsburgh. The city was reeling a 2-point loss by Pitt to UConn in the Big East Tournament, leaving many searching for a way to relieve the pain. Approximately 300 people found salvation at Club Diesel, as a touch of Brooklyn made the South Side its home.
It was March 10, that the self-proclaimed, “Yardfather,” Saigon and the 2011 Strange Music Tour invaded Pittsburgh!
For Saigon, his first visit to the Steel City served as validity for his, “redemption.” After a 4-year battle with Atlantic Records, Saigon was granted his release, taking 100 percent ownership of his material with him. This allowed his debut, “The Greatest Story Never Told,” to finally be released Feb. 15 on Suburban Noize Records to overwhelming responses from fans and critics. The album, which features artists like Jay-Z, Faith Evans and Layzie Bone of Bone Thugs n’ Harmony, amassed impressive sales as an independent release and critical acclaim from publications such as AllMusic, IGN and The Source, which rated the album 4 out of 5 mics, near perfection.
“It was amazing to see the response when the album came out. It was good to see after everything I had been through to get this album out, people supported (the album) and were excited overall with the album,” stated Saigon.
As one of the headlining acts alongside Krizz Kaliko, Kutt Calhoun, Potluck, Johnny Richter and J. Hornay, Saigon enjoys thrilling a diverse audience with his hip-hop roots, seeing the tour as a potential introduction to those experiencing his music for the first time.
“The other acts have more of a rock influence fused in their style, where mine is geared more hip-hop, so it’s exciting to show the crowd what I am about, “ explains Saigon. “It’s nice I can come on this tour and bring something diverse. I got something special for them, and I’m about giving my all and delivering a great show for them tonight.”
As the crowd settled, they yearned for hip-hop to fill their ears and explode from the speakers. Performances from West Coast artists J. Hornay and Potluck kicked them into high gear. The energy transitioned for Kutt Calhoun, the self-proclaimed, “Kansas City Chief,” delivering hits from his 2010 Strange Music released, “Raw and Un-Kutt.” Mere moments later, a brief mic check led to Saigon’s arrival to a warm ovation.
One aspect of Saigon’s performance that garners praise is his delivery. Each word is delivered crisp and with heart, like the soul-searching, “I Want It All,” where he raps, “I want the Beamer, Benz and Bentley, even though that I know they come with jealous and envy.” On the track, “Get Busy,” he delivered witty lines and showmanship over a Super Mario-sampled instrumental, allowing everyone’s inner child to surface.
Also apparent in Saigon’s music is his spirit, love for the art form, and its effect on people. Fans in attendance knew this well, raising their hands in support throughout his set. The song, “Come on Baby,” was a prime example, as Saigon’s razor sharp words perfectly meshed over thunderous horns and bass.
As his set closed with, “Bring Me Down,” a song displaying Saigon’s passion for success no matter the obstacles, he extended his arms to the crowd, soaked in rousing cheers, promised Pittsburgh he would return soon and exited the stage for Johnny Richter and Krizz Kaliko to continue the momentum.
Witnessing Saigon’s performance, the Brooklyn wordsmith has renewed energy, excited to build his future. He is currently working on his sophomore release while on the tour, and is prepping his music video, “Clap,” featuring Faith Evans, for release in the upcoming weeks.
“I feel like a better artist now than I was before, and it’s about keeping that momentum going. I was talking to him (Just Blaze) earlier about getting the next album started. Believe me, we’re not allowing four more years to pass to release this one, it’s about getting out there and keeping things moving!”
With Saigon’s current wave of momentum, what was once conceived as the Greatest Story Never Told now has a voice. It was an honor that a piece of his story was shared in Pittsburgh.
(For more information on Saigon, “like” him on Facebook.com/saigon.nation or visit www.saigonnation.com)
(Abdul Al-Nakhli can be reached by calling 412-320-6008, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook.com/abdulspadez, or at twitter.com/mrspadez).