Bread and Circuses is a concept used to describe the political tactic of using cheap food and entertainment to win the right to rule in ancient Rome. And, according to Abandoned Nation’s Saigon, entertainment and distraction is not only used to win in modern day politics, but also in modern day music. Ironically, for his second official studio album, Greatest Story Never Told 2: Bread and Circuses, Tha Yardfather gets distracted by label woes, loss, and lack of recognition, and at times, it’s hardly entertaining. But, through the second-rate production and thug threats, Saigiddy does manage to squeeze out a few jewels to give light to some modern issues in a new perspective.
“Rap vs Real” is a new take on the “fake vs. real” concept where Tha Yardfather uses a “Rap” scenario, which he deems as fake scenario, as the effect of a corrupted reality. Just Blaze’s crisp drums appear on the song as Saigon breaks down illusions to reveal some ugly truths:
“Them hundreds keys you said you flipped in the trap? THAT’S RAP! /
And Max B fighting for that appeal. THAT’S REAL! /
That little b***h you let dance on your lap? THAT’S RAP! /
The fact that she been molested since she was lil. THAT’S REAL!”
After the first two opening tracks, Just Blaze’s presence is missed as Saigon tries his best to lend some heartfelt words of encouragement to pursue ones dreams, but is plagued by DJ Corbett’s off-beat acoustic guitar on “Let Me Run”. A trend of lackluster organ production continues on “Not Like Them”, where Sai and Styles P rap about being “Not Like Them”, without really giving you a reason besides taking their word for it. But, there is some meat to go along with this bread.
“The Game Changer” finds Saigon venting out some anguish with Atlantic Records by telling the story of his first single from his debut album with Trey Songz, which he claims was expected to be a sexual record by his former label.
Now all along they expecting we do a song on how we bang the girls /
I said, “Naw lil n***a we about to change the world /
When I turned it in expecting a grin /
They gave a n***a a look like never again.
The album’s predictable single “Blown Away” has Saigon connecting the common end that the mortar’s of Black progress all share and how he fears it for himself. Dessert is served once you get to the album’s gem “Our Babies 2”. On the track, dark piano keys and epic strings spur Sai into raising some good political questions like why Osama Bin Laden was killed without a trial (“They killed Bin Laden and everybody just smiled / if he did what was allege than yeah, that maggot was foul / question I ask you: What happen to his trial?”). However, besides this song and the two versions of “Blown Away”, there isn’t much politically said on GSNT 2, which brings wonder why Sai would want to perpetuate such an ambitious political theme on the album in the first place.
Although Saigon’s testament to delivering positive messages in Hip-Hop has been unquestioned, since his classic compilation mixtape, Welcome To Saigon, or even last year’s debut, The Greatest Story Never Told, he seems to feel under-appreciated for his lyrical consciousness. Instead of continuing his track record of uplifting the ‘hood, GSNT seems to seek validation for his past musical efforts. Hopefully in the next chapter of The Yardfather’s inspiring story, he’ll have more substance to make Hip-Hop “SAY YES” once again.