Back before Saigon truly understood the intricacies of industry rule #4080, he tore through the New York mixtape circuit during the mid-Aughts and in doing so quickly became a celebrated voice of the streets. Warning Shots was the highlight of his early run, combining aggressive content ("N.Y. Streetz," "Let a Nigga Know") with social commentary that gave his listeners enough perspective to make sense of the mayhem. He even dropped an ode to his mother.
Like 2Pac and 50 Cent before him, Saigon's thuggish past didn't make him ashamed of his humble upbringing or squash his sincerity. He rarely dipped outside of his Brooklyn state of mind, with tracks like "Drama Hour Freestyle" ("I put Lil Wayne and Lil Zane in a lil' pain/Call Lil' Kim to give me a lil' brain") and "Stocking Cap" providing a signature bark that is evident to this day. —Edwin Ortiz