Chicago's Saba has quietly emerged as a refreshing and unflinching voice in rap, capable of talking about the complexities of his city and his own life with incisive wordplay and an incredible eye for detail. These qualities are certainly affirmed on Care For Me, his brand new record that highlights the rapper's affinity for heady, atmospheric production and cerebral yet easily graspable rhymes.
The album was preceded by "Busy," a brutally honest track in which Saba reflects on how his lifestyle has affected his personal relationships, and the anxiety and strife he's faced as a result. The single's emotive, Peter Collins Campbell-directed video cemented Saba as a three-dimensional artist, and the impressionistic visuals beautifully complimented its vivid lyrical scenes.
Other standouts on Care For Me include the contemplative, piano-powered "Logout" with Chance the Rapper or the joyous, autobiographical "Smile," in which Saba reflects on his family roots. He's versatile and dexterous with his flows, but never opts for style over substance, packing every bar with nuggets of hard-earned wisdom.
“I always tell the truth in it, and I think that’s just how a lot of people, especially by me, need to hear it. Like yes, we got homies in prison, we got homies dead, we got this wrong with our family, we got this wrong with ourselves, but we can still do whatever we want to do about that," he told Pigeons & Planes in 2016. "We can let that defeat us or we can boss up."
Stream Care For Me above, read our interview with Saba from October 2016, and watch him discuss the external misconceptions surrounding Chicago hip-hop below.