As the first snow of December laid its foundation outside my window, I found myself seated across my kitchen table from Chicago rapper Saba. As the TheseDays team settled into chairs and couches around the floor, we gave the man a few minutes to warm up from the photoshoot outside in the newfound winter. It’s been three years since last sitting down like this with Saba for a story and in the time since the young man from the Austin neighborhood on the west side of Chicago has come a long way. From performing alongside Chance The Rapper on ‘The Late Show’ to touring across the country and Europe, his horizons have certainly expanded from his Grandma’s basement out west. That three year journey manifested itself in September in the thirteen song collection, The Bucket List Project, a thoughtful, charged glance at life’s experiences juxtaposed with early success. While the stages may have gotten larger, the lights a bit brighter and the stakes ever higher, life isn’t all that different for the kid I first saw spitting raps on a Tuesday night at Young Chicago Author’s Wordplay open mic. Continue reading Saba’s Westside Tales: Chicago Artist Offers Relatable Voice On ‘Bucket List Project’
One of my “Acts to Look Out For“ from Chicago, Saba, dropped his long-awaited video for “Secondhand Smoke” yesterday, which offered glimpses of wintertime Chi alongside Vesely-esque digital effect to create a powerful aesthetic in the lead up to his project, ComfortZone. Since seeing Saba and his co-horts, Pivot Gang, for the first time at the after-school spoken word poetry program, Young Chicago Authors, it has been refreshing to see his uniquely powerful, yet ultimately conscious rhymes begin to find their way out of the city. As we saw a crop of artists rise from Chicago last year, Saba has gone about positioning himself for the bright lights of the big time perhaps better than anyone else, playing what seems like a show a day around the city, and keeping his travel schedule tight in getting around the country to spread the Pivot word. “Secondhand Smoke”, shot by the ever-talented guys over at Heart of the City, continues to build the buzz that has surrounded Saba for some time, keep an eye out for ComfortZone.