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’
Originally Appeared on Noisey
“It’s go time! Y’all not acting like it’s go time,” Saba shouts to the people gathered backstage at North Coast Music Festival in Chicago’s Union Park. He turns around with wide eyes, clapping loudly, in a moment of enthusiasm that seems uncharacteristic from the self-professed nerd and career quiet kid. After pacing the distance from his tent to the stage several times, he dips his head and trots up the stairs leading to the stage. As his band goes through sound check, he squints through the stage’s backdrop at the slowly gathering crowd. His feet move up and down, fingertips nervously drumming against his microphone. He holds it tight to his chin. “PIVOT!” he yells, a smile crossing his face as he repeats his clique’s nickname in call and response. “PIVOT” the hundred or so in attendance for the set shout back. Continue reading Saba’s West Side Story Is One Worth Listening To
You should’ve heard about Saba by now. Since appearing on Chance The Rapper’s now-iconic Acid Rap project, the 19-year-old artist and leader of Chicago’s newest Hip-Hop clique, PIVOT, has reinvigorated his art while preparing for the release of his upcoming project, COMFORTzone. Continue reading Saba: “Burnout” (Feat. Eryn Allen Kane)
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.