Many people want to be hip-hop stars, but don't know what it truly takes. They might think you write a rap, go to the studio... and that's it. That is not the case, just ask NYC rapper Siagon. He knows this all too well, learning the inner workings of the music industry over the past decade.
During promotions for his new album, The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2: Bread And Circuses, we caught up with Sai to talk about his long, drawn out battle with Atlantic Records, who shelved his major label debut; the Illuminati in hip-hop and how hip-hop's roots go back to the days of slavery; and of course, the new album... so if you haven't got a copy, pick it up at Amazon.com.
This is technically your sophomore album, and it's called Bread and Circuses. What does that title mean?
It's a Roman ideology about public control and how to divert the public from the real issues. Bread and circuses is food and entertainment, so you keep their belly filled and keep them entertained, and you can do whatever you want really. I feel like that's how the world works right now.
In a recent interview, you said the same thing that I was feeling about your situation at Atlantic Records. Basically, they give the people bread and put on a circus. It is basically a game you have to play and you didn't want to play it.
They held me for six years, and it got to the point, I begged them to let me go and make a living. They said they would rather hold me and shelve me until I was nothing. They are paper gangsters and contract thugs.
Did you still get a per diem or anything? How did it work with shows?
I didn't get paid at all through the record label. I basically paid the bills by doing shows. They weren't involved with my show money at all. I got money through the show "Entourage". Atlantic didn't care if I lived or died, they just didn't want to see me succeed. They invested in me and I didn't do what they wanted, so they shelved me.
What's your take on the whole Illuminati thing in the industry? Especially with rappers and singers and stuff?
Everybody knows the Illuminati is real and secret societies exist. The New World Order is real. To assume that a rapper becomes successful because they get down with the Illuminati is where people get confused. There is only a certain amount of wealth they will let you acquire. You aren't going to get a few million dollars and do whatever you want with it. If someone has a revolutionary mindset, they aren't going to let that person accumulate that much money. They want people who are just going to floss and go on vacation. Let someone like me get that much money and you would see a whole different situation.
Let's say everything went according to plan on Atlantic and...
I would be dead by now.
You just finished my question for me. Do you think you would have been dead or in jail?
Either one. When I say "Dead," it might be physically dead or they would assassinate my character. They;d basically try to take your credibility away and make you look like a joke. That's what they do to people like Al Sharpton. Look at him. He has a perm, he's fat, etc. I got a new video called "Blown Away," which is about this exact subject. Anyone that is an entertainer and tries to use their influence to change or make things positive, gets killed. Then, they give you a title of a martyr.
A lot of that reggae artist got taken out.
Yea, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh... all those guys. They said Bob Marley got cancer of the toe? F*** outta here. Then, we heard he didn't want to amputate his toe and he died? That sounds like bullsh**.
I read something that said someone gave him a pair of boots that had lead in them or radiation in them, and that's how he got the cancer.
He was too powerful and he stood for something. Peter Tosh said, "Get up, stand up, and stand up for your rights," then he's dead. Tupac Shakur is definitely another one. It's too much of a coincidence to me. Even Michael Jackson, they assassinated his character. People loved Michael because of his revolutionary mindset.
What's the story behind Michael's death?
He bought the Beatles catalog, that gave him a lot of wealth and power and he was trying to make a come back. He gained too much power and he owed a lot of money, so they got rid of him. Mike knew it was his time to step up and he was going to come back.
He did always fight against the powers that be. Do you think he was maybe going to speak out?
Why all the sudden he dies when he was going to come back? Mike understood the power of his voice. Maybe he was going to make some new revolutionary songs, and bang, he dies.
I learned a lot of this stuff from the Internet, but you have to realize there is misinfo and disinfo on there. How did you start learning about this stuff?
I read a lot of books. I learned this stuff before the Internet. I learned about the government agency Cointelpro and J. Edgar Hoover. It's the government that killed the Black Panthers. They didn't call it "killing them," they called it "neutralizing them." They flooded the communities with drugs and guns and took out the will power of the black people. The government allowed the real Rick Ross to flood these communities in Los Angeles with dope and coke. Then, when they were done with him, they turned on him and put him in jail. He was working for the C.I.A. and didn't even know it at first. I have two young daughters, but I also have a voice and I can't sit around and act like I don't know these things. I have to say the truth, even though I know what sells and what doesn't. If I was pushing death and destruction, I would be a lot more popular than I am now. All the popular rappers push death, destruction, sex and pimping. They get corporate sponsorships and now hip-hop is one big commercial.
Do you think these labels know whose willing to do anything for fame and whose not willing to sell themselves out?
Do you think they approach Rick Ross like, "Yo, we know your fake as sh**, and you'll do what we say, so we will reward you with millions of dollars?"
I don't think they sit and approach guys like that. They listen to the music and see what direction someone is going in and that determines what type of push they get. All these rappers that are popular, have adult content and they get the biggest push. All of their songs are flipping kilos and f***ing hoes and that's not for children. The labels still market it to the children though.
Hip-hop used to be about reality, now it's not.
Yea, it came from our struggle and it gave us a voice. It was our cry for help, talking about our communities. It's just like the blues was. This is the modern day version of the blues.
In essence, does hip-hop's roots go back to the days of slavery, when they used to sing in the fields?
Yes, absolutely. Because, we weren't allowed to learn how to read and write. We communicated with each other through drums and songs. It's just like church today. When you go to a black church, we communicated through drums and that originated in Africa. They stripped our culture, but they didn't take everything away. Just like black kids have these crazy names today, because it's apart of our culture. When we were slaves, we were given these false names that weren't really ours. We took our culture back by naming our kids names like Tanesha or Rasheeda. My government name is Brian, which is an Irish name, and I don't have one Irish relative.
You were recently on a radio show, where you talked about punching Rick Ross in the face. Then, you came out and later explained your tactic behind that. Can you talk a little about that?
I know how the game works and sometimes you have to do some ignorant stuff that will draw attention to your message. I know how the game works and my moves are calculated. I remember an old head in jail told me, if you put a Playboy cover on a Bible, we would have more religious people in the world. Some times, you have to trick people in order to get them the right message.
Saigon's new album, "The Greatest Story Never Told Chapter 2," is out now. Order now on iTunes.