Saigon: By Any Means Necessary (Pt 1)
HHDX: Why did you take the June 1st blog post down [off of your myspace]?
Saigon: I took it down because I guess it offended Just Blaze for some reason. I dont understand why it would offend him, but he hit me on myspace like it bothered him for some reason. So instead of me just adding fuel to the fire, I took it down and was like well deal with it on a personal level.
HHDX: Was there a particular event, a straw that broke the camels back moment that motivated you to write what you did?
Saigon: Its been going on. A lot of times I find myself, not lying to the press but sometimes trying to pull the wool over ya guys eyes about whats really going on over there. I been sitting on that label almost 3 years. And the album that they eventually approved [to release] was the same album that I had [done] 6 months into the deal. So its pretty much I been sitting over there for 2 years doing nothing.
HHDX: So was it your intention to get Atlantics attention with the blog post?
Saigon: Not really, because I been bitchin. I been told em, Look, yall can drop me. Most artists, they try to run from that. Im like, Let me go. Let me out the contract. I dont wanna sit around on your shelf and become irrelevant to the world, and thats what I see happening.
Im like, Okay, if you guys dont wanna push me and give me the proper attention that I feel my project not only needs but deserves, then let me try my hand somewhere else. Thats only fair.
HHDX: So as of today, do you want off the label or do you wanna still try to make this project work?
Saigon: If its gonna continue to be how they working, of course I want out. Yeah, I want out. For me to even have a career, its either I stay over there and do nothing or I go somewhere else and try to put out music.
I put out one song since I been over there. And that was a song that I pretty much put out myself. They didnt even wanna put out Pain In My Life. They were against it. They were like, No, no, what are you doing?
HHDX: Now your album is largely produced by one of the most successful hip-hop producers of this decade, Just Blaze, your A&R is a young hip-hop DJ, Sickamore, and youre not signed directly to Atlantic, but through Hip-Hop Since 1978 the same label that put Kanye West on. You got all the pieces in place, so why hasnt that arrangement produced a product?
Saigon: The product has been there, but its all about distributing it and getting the product out there. Thats why on the blog I said if they dont put it out, Ill put it out. If you guys are creating the perception that with all those pieces in place - like you said, with Just Blaze, with [Hip-Hop Since 1978 co-owners and Atlantic VPs of A&R] Hip-Hop and G [Roberson] - that I cant produce then that looks like its me. People is like, It must be Saigon who cant come correct, who cant make a single, who cant make songs, when I have over a 100 great songs.
HHDX: So who is that barrier then? If its not Just Blaze, if its not Sickamore, if its not Hip-Hop Since 1978, whos the barrier to putting this album out?
Saigon: Its the powers that be [at Atlantic]. If they were turning down the music, if we were submitting music and they were saying its not good enough thatd be one thing. But they hear the music and they go, Oh its great. We love it! And then nothing happens.
My album is geared toward the upliftment of black people. I dont know if theyre scared of that. I dont know if they dont think its gonna sell. But there has to be balance in music. And I guess they want the detriment rap. Thats not me. At the end of the day I gotta look in the mirror. I cant do that.
HHDX: So what are they telling you then?
Saigon: Theyre not telling me nothing. Ive never seen somebody wait and sit around for three, four months for a sample to clear. And the sample still hasnt been cleared.
HHDX: Whats the sample clearance issue?
Saigon: Supposedly my single called Dont Cha Baby, which was recorded by me over two years ago, theyre realizing right now that they cant clear the sample, two years later. Thats the reason why I dont have a song out right now, or I dont have a single out, because they cant clear [a sample].
I dont have a budget. Just Blaze ate up my budget. So I cant really go and work with other producers like Pharrell, Timbaland, and Kanye, cause its not in my budget anymore. So all Im doing is sitting around, just waiting for something to fall out the sky. We cant clear the sample, fuck it, lets move on. Im a artist, Just [Blaze] is a producer, lets go in the studio and make a new record. We could do that in one day. But it never gets done.
Just Blaze is still very active. Hes still working. Hes still doing beats for other artists. These dudes are still working with other artists, but when it comes to Saigon its like, Uh People get choked up.
HHDX: So who is the boogeyman in this situation?
Saigon: I dont know, man. Its like everybody is playing hide the stone. The only person I really communicate with is G. Roberson. He tells me the most, but I still never get to the bottom line.
HHDX: When I called G. Roberson I called around to different people to try to get comments earlier in the week I was told he wasnt in, and I was told that Hip-Hop doesnt work there anymore, can you clarify the situation?
Saigon: Hop doesnt like the way Atlantic is structured. He feels like they dont let artists be artists. They want cookie cutter shit. So he left. He left as an A&R. He left his position. He had a high-level position. And hes the one who signed me. So this really makes it even harder for me, when the person who signed you [leaves].
HHDX: Have you talked to anybody else within the A&R department, or anyone else within the label recently?
Saigon: Nah, man. A&Rs dont listen. A&Rs are not A&Rs anymore. Theyre pretty much just getting checks. They just get a check. They find something thats getting a certain amount of spins, thats a regional record thats hot, and they say, Hey, these guys are getting 500 spins over here, we should sign em. Thats all A&Rs do.
Theres no artist and repertoire. Theres no artist development. Not that I even need that. They just want that one catch phrase to run with. We want jingles, thats what theyre pretty much telling me. Theyre sitting around waiting for something that theyre never gonna get from me.
So either put my album out, which everybody on my team is happy with, or let me go. I know I can get another situation. Im not worried about that. Ill go to Koch. Ill go to Babygrande. I dont care. Im not in this game to try to be a billionaire and have a twenty-car garage. Thats not why I rap. A lot of niggas rap for that, but thats not why I rap. Money is not my motivation.
Check out part two where Saigon addresses the powers that be by name and if possibly leaving Atlantic Records means never working with Just Blaze again