10 Things You Didn’t Know About Saigon
New York-born rapper Saigon hasn’t always had good luck in releasing his music to the world, but has yet to somehow remain relevant in hip-hop circles with an endless string of controversy that seems to follow him. This time, he does it again, resurfacing as one of the new castmembers of VH1’s ‘Love & Hip Hop: New York’ season 4.
On the second episode, we’re introduced to the now 36-year-old rapper, who is contemplating getting into a relationship with the mother of his son, Erica. For the past two years, things have been fairly quiet since he released his held-back album, ‘The Greatest Story Never Told,’ in 2011.
But Saigon has a tough history that explains the struggles he’s faced as an adult. The life and times of Saigon have never been predictable — he’s fought and recorded with some of hip-hop’s biggest rappers and claims to have once dated a famous model and actress. Take a look at 10 things you didn’t know about Saigon.
He did a 7-year bid in prison.
Saigon served a seven-year sentence in New York’s Napanoch’s Eastern Correctional Facility for first-degree assault after shooting at someone in at a bar when he was 16. He was 22 years old when he released. He has a long history of run-ins with the law. At the age of 14, Saigon was first admitted into a juvenile detention center. “I NEVER HAD A NORMAL LIFE,” he recently wrote on his Facebook page. “I ONLY HAD A MONTH OF HIGH SCHOOL MY WHOLE LIFE.”
He dated model and actress Joy Bryant.
Joy Bryant has been happily married since 2008, but Saigon claims he was one of her past boos. The Brooklyn-bred spitta candidly shared his adoration for the Bronx beauty and their past relationship in a 2009 video interview, as he showed off one of her earliest portfolios. “That was wifey man. She’s this big movie star… I’m proud of her,” he shares. “She became the big-time celebrity, but she loved a n—- when he was nothin’.”
He was one of Mark Ronson’s first artists.
DJ and music producer Mark Ronson had big dreams of starting a record label, which he launched with his manager Rich Kleiman. Saigon was his first signee to Allido Records, but he parted ways with Ronson to sign with Just Blaze’s Fort Knox Entertainment.
He did a song with Jay Z.
“They put the world’s most underrated on the record with the greatest of all time, can’t no one debate it,” raps Saigon on his song ‘Come On Baby’ remix featuring Jay Z and Swizz Beatz on the ad libs. The original Just Blaze-produced track was released as the first single from his album ‘The Greatest Story Never Told.’ The version with Jigga is also featured on the album. Listen below.
He punched Mobb Deep’s Prodigy in the face.
Back in 2007, during a Hot 97 show in New York City, the event organizers put both Mobb Deep and Saigon on the same bill, while the two acts were apparently beefing. A scuffle broke out while they were both on stage. Saigon punched Prodigy of Mobb Deep in the face and is shown on video holding on tight to his bodyguard who plows his way through onlookers to exit the club. Later on during an interview with Street Knowledge, Saigon called the incident “ordinary s–t.” He said, “How I grew up, that’s not even no s–t to even elaborate on. We see each other in the club, we had words, we say words, we get into a scuffle. That’s all it was.”
He was once Just Blaze’s pet project.
After Saigon left Mark Ronson’s Allido Records, he joined Just Blaze’s Fort Knocks Entertainment label. The producer worked closely with Saigon when he signed with Atlantic records and was the main producer on his LP ‘The Greatest Story Never Told.’ Their working relationship continued until Saigon was dropped from Atlantic and Just Blaze ended his distribution deal with the label. In 2012, Just Blaze cut Saigon a few tracks for his mixtape ‘Warning Shots 3: One Foot In The Grave.’
He reps “Moose Knuckle.”
Saigon often reps his birthplace of Spring Valley, N.Y. as “Moose Knuckle” in his music. On ‘Better Way’ he raps, “I was born in Mooseknuckle where the kid was led astray/ Then I moved to B.K., where I fell in love with guns.” He also references his hometown on his cut ‘The Greatest Story Never Told.’ “Even squeezed off a Warning Shot/
Moose-Knuckle to Brownsville/they impatiently waitin for your boy to drop,” he spits.
‘Love & Hip Hop’ is not his first time on TV.
For those who aren’t familiar with Saigon, ‘Love & Hip Hop’ may be their introduction to the rapper. But before he became the new face of VH1’s most loved and hated reality show, Saigon had real acting roles. He played an aspiring rapper the character “Turtle” was helping on four episodes on HBO’s hit show ‘Entourage’ in 2005-06.
He almost recorded with R&B group Pretty Ricky.
One of Saigon’s biggest issues while he was at Atlantic Records was creative control over the final product of his album. The rapper says the label once wanted him to record a track with R&B group Pretty Ricky, who were popular for their freak-n-B around the time. The label was thinking about making hits, but Saigon wouldn’t let go of his integrity. “They signed me knowing the kind of music I was making, but then they try and change the direction,” he told the Village Voice in a 2011 interview. Years later, no one ones where Pretty Ricky is, but at least Saigon doesn’t have to live that one down.
He once “quit” rap in 2007.
Frustrated with the media, rap beefs and the streak of bad luck with labels, Saigon announced that he was quitting rap for good in 2007. In a blog post, the artist vented his disgust with the industry. “No more interviews, no more mixtapes, no nothing….Im not a rapper anymore, Im done,” he wrote. “Im back to being regular me…This s–t is too fake for me, I found myself getting caught up in the bullshit but now Ill gladly walk away,” he continued. We all know that this “retirement” wouldn’t last for good as he put out several projects after. And ironically he’s back airing his business in the worst way for a VH1 reality show. We wonder what the 2007 Saigon would say to him today?