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Jul 22 - Saigon Interview Pt 2 Gives Props To Jayz,Says Eminem Is A Blatant Racist & More

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Jul 22 - Saigon Interview Pt 2 Gives Props To Jayz,Says Eminem Is A Blatant Racist & More

Cedric Muhammad: Now I am going to move into the more industry-related stuff. I wrote something, a few years ago called, “The Consciousness of Wu-Tang Clan, Suge Knight, and Jay-Z”";

Saigon: Yeah.

Cedric Muhammad: And I got a lot of heat from some of the conscious rap fans because I was critical, and the point I was making was this: evidently there is something missing in the consciousness when the rhetoric sounds real good etc… but you have artists signed to labels and there is no independent drive, they are not doing for themselves and there is no entrepreneurial drive or spirit apparent in how they do business. So I was critical in a constructive way about that. I read something that you said, and I know that Immortal Technique has subscribed to this which is – you can get paid more as an independent than signed to a major label, even if they sell less…

Saigon: Well, that is actually not true. You might not get paid off of your royalties, but an artist with a multi-platinum album? He might not get as much per unit back, but Immortal Technique can’t go get $40,000 for a show. See what I am saying? If you go platinum on a major (label) you are going to be able to charge $40,000 to $50,000 per show. And you can do three shows in one night.

Cedric Muhammad: Right, once you get past a certain scale in your popularity it allows you to have more streams of income (at a higher level)...

Saigon: Yeah, and that is where the independent artist loses. Yeah, they get more per CD but if you are only selling ten thousand CDs you might have made a good 80 or 90 grand and think you made more than a signed artist, but overall you ain’t make more than a successful artist on a major label – no where near it.

Cedric Muhammad: Do you think the few that make that multi-platinum status, that make that scale, I won’t say justify (that approach); but you have so few people that reach that status that sign to labels, what would you advise (the majority) of artists who aren’t going to reach that status in order to make that kind of cake off of shows etc...?

Saigon: My advice to them is, spend their money wisely. That first big check they give you – don’t go out there blowing it on j3welry and a car thinking, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to make more’. That might be all that you are going to make. Invest that money as wisely as possible. Buy a house. Buy something that is going to be there and make some money for you. That is my advice. Because when you sign a major deal they are going to give you something like $100,000 or $150,000 depending upon how good your managers and lawyers are. You might get only $75,000. But that little chunk of change you get – treat that like that is all you are going to make. Think like, ‘this is my start, let me go and flip this and go and try and start a business.’ Go open a barber shop, or a little record store. Whatever kind of business you want to open up. Go learn about business and how to flip that money. Think like that is all of the money you are going to get and if you happen to make more, then that is like a security blanket – you’re good - and you can start spending money and making some.

Cedric Muhammad: Now, another area where I have liked what you have had to say is the current environment and this whole dynamic where the South rapper is ‘in’ now, and I was laughing when I heard you say, ‘It is hard for a New York rapper now to make it (now)...' (laughter)

Saigon: Yeah. What? (laughter). That is why all of these dudes now, feel like they have to go down there and collaborate with a Down South artist and make these songs that sound country-driven. Yeah, it is real hard. I feel like – not to dis the South, because my family is from the South and my mother is from the South - but I feel like, they have kind of dumbed the Hip-Hop down so much, that it is like anybody can grasp it now, and it is more accessible and entertaining to everyone, and anyone can catch on to it now. They were always considered slower than us. The Down South mo’ f-----s was always considered slow. Like up here in New York, we were always considered more advanced than Down South people. Now it is like the tail wagging the dog. Now, it is like the slow people are leading the advanced. The slow mo’ f-----rs is like in control of sh1t because the majority rules. And there is more slow people, so now that is what is in effect. So now the people who like to hear insight and introspective lyrics and like to grow and learn – you can’t learn from a Down South record. There are a few groups like David Banner and Outkast (that you can learn from). It’s a few of them...

Cedric Muhammad: Yeah, even the Ying Yang Twins dropped a little something on this last album they have (‘United States of Atlanta’), believe it or not...

Saigon: Oh word? But look at what their single is. But when I have to go and buy your record and find that one (song that is conscious)...you know what I mean?

Cedric Muhammad: Well let me ask you this, because a lot of my viewers from the South, they get at BlackElectorate.com and different rappers, and they have a lot of criticism for what they call the ‘New York-centric’ view of Hip-Hop. And they make a point which is that those people in the South – this is their time to shine, and the baton has been passed, and what they say is that even though you may be right about the overtly conscious lyrics, the Brothers from the South have a brought a more entrepreneurial spirit to it and they have been creative in how they have added music and rhythms to it. What do you think? Do you think there is a form of consciousness that the Brothers in the South have that is lacking up in New York now?

Saigon: Nah. Not at all. I disagree with that totally because, as far as the entrepreneurial spirit, even in the South, them dudes sell out just as fast as a New York artist. The thing about them is that they were forced to put out their own music, because there was a time when their music didn’t really matter that much. In order to be heard they had to put it out. But if you look at any artist that gets big, he goes and f---s with a major. Because to go and get to another level you have to f—-k with them. How are you going to get your video on MTV? They are not just going to play any video. What makes you big is when you mess with the majors. And I have never seen an artist who got big on their own who said, ‘Nah, I am not f---ing with no major.’ Master P. f---ed with a major – everybody did from down there. You get to a point where you hit a gla$s ceiling and then you have to deal with them. So, it comes down to, ‘OK, I am going to get f---ed but it’s a question of whether it is going to be with or without Vaseline.’ That’s the only difference They still get f---ed but they just get a little grease on they sh1t. But you are getting f---ed anyway. It ain’t like they have Black distribution Down South or they own some sh1t down there. Nah. And as far as their music spreading – it spreads because it is club-oriented. Everything is about the club. Everything. Hip-Hip music has now become the new dance music, almost. A lot of people changed their musical format from dance to Hip-Hop because now you do dances in the clubs now, and because Down South is pretty much now b00ty-shakin’, strip club-oriented music. That’s what’s big and so huge right now.

Cedric Muhammad: You just alluded to radio. What is your view on radio – the evolution or digression of it in the years since you have been coming up? And I point to a record like ‘I’m Black’ by Styles P. that won’t get played, and then Kanye West’s song, ‘All Falls Down’ where they take out the part where he says, ‘White Man.’

Saigon: Yeah, that’s kind of crazy. I feel radio is what it is – a tool used to program us and help them to make money. The more money they put into an artist, the more you are going to hear him on the radio. The more you hear him on the radio, the more money they are going to get in return. It is a business thing. And you have Clear Channel which owns like 1500 stations who is putting all of the same songs in rotation because all of these dudes in high places are friends. You can only imagine who Jimmy Iovine’s friends are, who he has got in his Rolodex. Of course he can call the president of Clear Channel and the president of NBC and CBS, when Eminem says ‘??????’, and get that shut down real quick. It is funny because Benzino used to say, ‘You notice as soon as we went at Eminem they raided Michael Jackson’s house (laughter)?’ Like, to take all of the attention off of all of that. They went after Mike after that.

The biggest and most popular artist in the world right now, Eminem, is a blatant racist. They have this dude on tape saying, ‘?????? this...’ and ‘?????? that...’ and (things like) ‘I don’t f-—k with ?????? bi#ches, these bi#ches are c00ns and crickets’ and all kinds of sh1t, and they downplay it to the point where it is like he never said it. Let that have been Jay-Z talking about, ‘F—-k all of the White people.’ Lauryn Hill said one time, and I never even heard her say it, ‘I don’t want White people buying my music.’ But that is only through the grapevine, that somebody said that, and they blew that sh1t out of control. Nobody ever had no audio of that (Lauryn Hill’s alleged statement). But we have the audio of Eminem’s voice saying it! (And they make excuses for what he said like), “Oh he just broke up with a Black girl, so he called her all kind of ‘??????s.’” Get the f—-k out of here man, you have got to come up with something better than that. And you know what, none of us stood up, none of us stepped up. If I was 50 (Cent), I think I would have slapped his face as soon as I heard that.


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