After recently reviewing his 'Molotov' collaboration with Chicago Producer, Thelonious Martin, I had the pleasure of getting to interview the Brooklyn MC himself, Saga.
I was told that the Molotov collab became possible when Saga noticed Thelonious Martin was exactly what he was looking for, "someone who had a new way of approaching an older style".
When asked about what mindset he had during the creation process of the album,
Saga said "I have the same mindset for everything, find the pocket, listen to the track and see what mood it puts me in and what it draws from me. The track tells me what to write and for this project I didn't push a particular agenda, I just went off what I felt.
After being treated to Molotov, I had to ask if there was any future projects to be looking out for. Saga confirmed Molotov 2, "We're starting Molotov 2 at some point and I will most likely drop some singles and possibly an EP before the end of 2017. I haven't nailed any one producer down for the EP yet."
Curious about his motivation, I asked the MC who and what inspired him to spit.
"Rakim inspired me to write and then Nas, Mobb Deep and Mos Def. But it was just NYC and hip hop culture that inspired me to rhyme."
Saga seems to be very down to Earth, I wanted to know if he saw himself as an influence to any artists and he replied saying
"It's too early in the game for me to know if I've influenced anyone yet and I'm not well known yet we're always influencing each other as human being so I guess it's possible."
Everybody's got their own process, especially on tour, Saga had this to say about life on the road,
"Touring is work and can be difficult, I'm kind of a morning person and I like the sun but touring has you up all night and rushing from location to location but the bonus is having days off and seeing places you've never been so it's a fair trade."
The MC shares that his start as an artist was somewhat typical, "just spitting in ciphers with my people and doing shows locally same as many others"
According to Saga, the state of Hip-Hop in Brooklyn "is largely nonexistent. Whatever scene exists is really outsiders who moved to NY. I don't even focus on NY. The idea is to get big everywhere else and come home a hero."
As far as the new school goes, Saga said "Ha! There's nothing anyone can do about it and there's room for everyone on this big world. The internet has created more opportunities for growth and is more democratic."
Saga spoke on the golden age being essential, "Things will always come back to the Golden Age, it's like going home to the family, the kids leave, explore the world but always come back. That sound will always be classic and stand the test of time."
We all need support, whether we like to play hard or not, I asked Saga if he has a family or group of friends who support what he does for a living. He had this to say
"I have a few key people in my corner and it's really a partnership, my manager Max, Thelonious, Coalmine Records and my wife have been in my corner."
The hip-hop community is torn on opinions between mainstream and underground, but if you ask Saga, "Hip Hop is in a good place, there's a lot of options for artists nowadays, with the right team, business model and strategy, an artist can go far. It's all good."
Being from Brooklyn, I knew Saga would have an opinion on the classic Hip-Hop debate, Jay vs. BIG, and the Joey Badass-Troy Ave situation from 2016.
"Jay. And the Troy Ave-Badass situation is just hip hop, good promo, people said Troy went after Capital Steez and that it was dirty but it was a worse thing when Troy started shooting into a crown in a club. Rappers are gonna beef and that's it. I feel like a lot of Brooklyn rappers have been there and done that mentality and can be a bit uninspired but you have to remember they come from a time when underground or backpack rap had big corporate money and a machine behind them and not it's like chump change and more work."
To close the interview, I asked if the MC had any advice to aspiring artists, he gave me gems saying
"Know how to pick. Pick people who can help and show support and add value, pick beats, pick a style, pick songs and pick a direction and stick to it, it takes time to see results."
After that we wished each other luck on future endeavors. If I took anything away from this interview, it's that Saga is a true Hip-Hopper who's hungry, willing and able to put some of the heavy weight that is Hip-Hop, on his shoulders.