Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Saigon Day! (#24 :P)

So today I’m unveiling a project I’ve been working on for a minute. In honor of the three and a half year anniversary of his life changing recurring role on the hit HBO TV show Entourage, April 1st 2009 is going to be Saigon Day here at a People’s History of Hip Hop. Once an hour for 24 consecutive hours I’m going to be posting the 24 best Saigon tracks recorded during his epic creative explosion between March and November 2006.

The first track is “P” featuring Kool G Rap, who contrary to the opinion of most critics is overrated, mad gay, and the ironic Hipster flavor of the month. This song was dropped in the midst of Saigon’s infamous second critical movement in which everyone was saying he was better than Uncle Murda, slightly worse than Papoose and about as good as Grafh.

“P” is an atypical Just Blaze beat. My friend told me when Just Blaze made this his son had chicken pox and he owed back taxes and you can really feel this in his music. The crunching guitars and his revelatory use of both stirring 808 and trenchant, apathetic 909 drums simultaneously speak to the chaos and confusion in his life. Listen to that crinkling, altruistic piano riff which isn’t a Billy Joel sample but should be. It’s almost like he’s saying “it’s raining, I came down with a head cold, I got caught in traffic on my way to the studio, I had to break a five to buy the Post and I forgot to charge my cell phone before I left the house.”

As for Saigon, he intended for this song to embody his nagging urinary tract infection but you can kinda tell it’s about the Haitian Slave Rebellion of 1791. Alliteration is a popular tool for poets from Frenchman Arthur Rimbaud through Fabo and Saigon is making light of this. In his landmark American Evasion of Philosophy, black douchebag Cornel West suggests things vaguely pertaining to this idea. In the very Postmodern video Kool G Rap is dressed in Montreal Expos gear, another former French colony and his sporting of Gary Carter’s retired #8 is a sly nod to the general Toussaint L'Ouverture. Remember the Montreal Expos? Mad old School!

This one time my Junior year of college I had a car and one day I took it to a local mall to see “Volver” but it was sold out so I went to see “Beerfest” instead. After laughing and crying through Jay Chandrasekhar’s tragicomic allegory for the first Gulf War I went out to the parking lot only to discover I had forgotten where I parked. I wandered the mostly barren lots of that sad, decaying symbol of urban sprawl awash in the magic and beauty of Just Blaze’s classic beat and Saigon’s timeless words making love to my brain through my ear buds. Finally I found my car, which I didn’t see because it was sandwiched between a Lincoln Navigator and a Chevy Tahoe. Everytime I see a Sports Utility Vehicle or hear a word that begins with the letter P I think of that precious moment.

I also had a girlfriend at the time.

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