Genre: Hip-hop For fans of: Smino, Noname, Chance the Rapper Major Discography: Bucket List Project, Care for Me Mixtapes and EPs: Get Comfortable, Comfort Zone, SpareChange!
Unfortunately I haven’t gotten the chance to listen to Saba’s earlier stuff like I had wanted to before doing this write-up, but regardless, Saba is easily one of my favorite new-generation rappers. Hailing from Chicago (my preferred location for interesting hip-hop), Saba has been on the rise ever since appearing alongside Chance the Rapper in the songs “Everybody’s Something” from the mixtape Acid Rap, and "Angels" from Colouring Book. Since then he has released two full-length projects: Bucket List Project and Care For Me, the latter of which is certainly in contention for my personal AOTY.
What sets Saba apart from many of his contemporaries is his overall technical ability: flow, delivery, wordplay, and lyricism all combine to form an artist that’s a head above the rest. His flow is somehow both rapid-fire and laid back at the same time; the ease with which he delivers his stories is testament to his skill. He bounces around from flow to flow within individual tongue-twisting verses while still maintaining coherency and (often deep) meaning. He manages to be a rapper’s rapper without going into rappity-rap territory – Saba has something to say. Oh, and he produces most of his work as well.
2018’s Care for Me is an intricate work of storytelling that I highly suggest people take the time to really listen to. This critically-acclaimed album largely revolves around the murder of his cousin John Walt, and Saba’s emotions as he processes his cousin’s death. Here’s a sample of Saba’s descriptive lyrics from PROM/KING (the album’ penultimate opus), which features uncredited vocals from John Walt:
We show up to the function where she brought a change of clothes I'm lookin' around like, Damn, I don't know nobody We at this party out West and Jada left to get dressed I'm fakin' like I'm sendin' text Some stranger get really close, I swear that I hear his breath Then he put a knife to my neck Gave me the run down like, "Jada my sister And if you hit her, fuck her, make her miss ya, I'ma kill ya!"
Saba has a story to tell, and he tells it well. Far from being a dark and gloomy rapper (themes on Care for Me nonwithstanding), Saba fits in well with the smooth and poetic sounds of fellow Chicagoans Noname and Smino, and he guests on their tracks often.
This should be an energetic and entertaining set, and I encourage you all to check it out.
Post by Nathan Fielder on Jan 15, 2019 12:59:52 GMT -5
Was actually listening to Bucket List Project for the first time right as I saw this posted. Small world!
Great writeup. Very excited to check out that Tiny Desk. His set will probably be the highlight of Thursday, my friend who listens to pretty much exclusively hip hop raved about his Pitchfork set when he got to see him
EDIT: I guess that full set is up on Youtube as well!