In an era consumed with fabricated thug tales and personas, Saigon is here to show you the true meaning of a hardcore emcee. The mixtape phenom has lived the street life that most only write about, and it has been this truthful representation of the streets that has made him the hottest emcee on the mixtape circuit. His two "Yardfather" mixtapes were instant street classics that helped start the buzz that propelled him into underground stardom and have had many calling him the next 50 Cent. And while he maybe the streets next big thing, Saigon still hasn't found that big label love he was looking for. In a fickle industry the likes of Hip Hop, Saigon has all the hype but no Eminem at his side to help transport that into mainstream success. That means Saigon will have to come up in this industry the only way he knows how, from the ground up. The foundation starts with "Warning Shots", his newest mixtape release that acts as a precursor to his debut LP "The Greatest Story Never Told". And like most mixtapes, the album features various freestyles and previously released mixtape joints that intended to get the listener familiar with Saigon.
While Saigon has ruled the mixtape circuit the past year, "Warning Shots" is only a small representation of that dominance. The album, while solid, is poorly sequenced and is inconsistent at times. The album begins and ends on shaky grounds, as the first couple of songs fail to showcase that vintage, hardcore Saigon sound. The gimmicky sounds of "Favorite Thingz" is pulled off in a street manner but the repetitive and simplistic concept loses its luster after a couple of listens. The attempted on and off double timed sounds of "Let A Nigga Know" is another lethargic attempt, as is the cliché, drug influenced "Papi (35 A Gram)". The various freestyles thrown in at the end of the album were also unnecessary, as the album would have benefited from a couple more full length tracks instead.
However, tucked in between these shaky attempts are the real gems of "Warning Shots". The two Alchemist bangers "Stocking Cap" and "Yes" are some of Saigon's finest material, thanks to Alchemist's classic production. The grimy Ez Elpee produced sounds on "Come Again" is another fiery street anthem, as are "NY Streetz" & "Pop Quiz". The hardcore but soulful sounds of "L.O.V.E." is one of the finer tracks featured on "Warning Shots", as the catchy vocal sample will stay permanently burned into your cranium for days. But its on the remarkable "Kiss The Babies" where we get a true glimpse of Saigon's versatility. Not many would expect political insight from Saigon, but surprisingly that’s what he delivers with "Kiss The Babies". Complete with a fitting vocal sample and hard hitting beat, Saigon rips the track with his own ghetto insight on the world around him. "It's the end of life as the way we know it, this is the last straw, George Bush about to declare the last war…I don't really think you know what niggas is facing, we are near the end of a twisted civilization. This isn't a nation, cut all the money for education and build more prisons as a replacement. How is it they can win a war against terror, and in the ghetto we loosing the war against heroin".
"Warning Shots" is a solid mixtape that won't fully hold listeners over until his 2005 debut, but does manage to do a good enough job of showcasing the talent of Saigon. The album would have turned out better if it swayed away from the usual mixtape format, but nevertheless, it's an album that every Saigon fan will want to hear. Let's just hope Saigon can keep the streets buzzing a couple more months, while we all patiently wait for "The Greatest Story Never Told".