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Saigon

Warning Shots 3: One Foot in the Grave

Saigon
Many rappers like to play the conflicted gangster, walking the line between conscious and street, talking about doing dirt on records, but also feeling bad about it. Most of them aren't able to pull it off, but Saigon makes it ring true. What's more impressive is that it doesn't matter if he's talking about offing his enemies on "BBB" or "Another Man Down" or lamenting the lack of role models in the media on "Mr. Cool," either way, Saigon is spitting fire on every bar. In an age of slowed-down swag rap and violent nursery rhymes, the Yardfather bucks the trends, combining complex, multi-level internal rhyme structures with smart metaphors and vivid imagery. Musically, it's mostly the sort of boom-bap East Coast sound you'd expect, but he does switch things up every so often. There are some almost Kanye-esque vocal samples on "Mr. Cool" and "Kinky," and "War and Chaos" has a dense, high-tension sound that's almost reminiscent of the Bomb Squad. If you're used to having your rap music dumbed down for the lowest common denominator, you'll find Warning Shots 3 a frustrating experience, because it asks you to think. If, however, you miss smart hip-hop, Warning Shots is an oasis in a desert of bullshit. (Fort Knocks)
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