Chicago emcee, Saba, is not only one of the best rising and upcoming emcee’s from Chicago. To emerge over the last decade. But one of the best emcee’s or artists in music period to emerge over that time as well. With his very introspective and relatable honest lyrics over mostly soulful and jazzy type production. Why he connects so well with not only his generation, but a lot of the middle. As well as even older generation too.
Dropping his mostly critically-acclaimed sophomore album, CARE FOR ME. Back in 2018. That also made a lot of year-end list’s of greatest Hip-Hop album’s or just album’s released in all of music that year. You would think that Saba would get even more recognition than what he does. But that is not the case. As he is still one of the more doper, yet still very underrated emcee’s there is in Hip-Hop right now. Whether Saba’s newest just a few months ago released solo album, Few Good Things. Changes that. Obviously remains to be seen. One thing is for certain after this album though. Saba, not only knows how to make album’s. But how to consistently make very stellar and cohesively great ones at that.
The very soulfully jazzy opening record, Free Samples. That is co-produced by frequent collaborator’s, daedaePIVOT and Daoud. Who are a part of Saba’s group/collective, Pivot Gang. The perfect opening. That lets you know the type of soulfully honest music you are in store for on, Few Good Things. As Cheflee, who is both featured and also produced on the track. Provides a very soulfully whimsical smooth amazing hook. Right before Saba at a little over a minute in. Then provides some very stellar emceeing/rhyming. That shows why he is one of the better emcee’s there is in not only Chicago, but most of Hip-Hop right now. The album then so perfectly and smoothly segues into the very catchy, One Way or Every N***a With a Budget. That finds Saba rapping/singing about all the great new things. He is trying to maintain for himself, his family and friends. While achieving the new level of success that he has. But also still trying to maintain his peace. In doing so.
As we move into track three. With the daedaePIVOT, Daoud and Saba co-produced, Survivor’s Guilt. We get more of a trap-infused record. Compared to the more soulfully jazzy type production we are used to hearing Saba rhyme on. That really shows both, Saba, as well as producer’s daedaePIVOT and Daoud versatility. Both, rapping and producing. With daedaePIVOT and/or Daoud, having a hand in producing all 14 tracks on the album. That is more of a soulfully jazzy and almost neo-soul type feel on the other 13 tracks. Fellow rising great Chicago emcee, G Herbo. Is featured on, Survivor’s Remorse and is the perfect person to have featured on the more trap-infused record. That’s more Herbo than Saba’s sound. A rawkus and riot type sound. We are more used to hearing from acts like Three 6 Mafia and Crime M.O.B., or even to an extent Westside Chicago Hip-Hop legends, Crucial Conflict. Saba, holds his own and shows he has the versatility to not only make record’s like this. But to also actually even make it fit and not feel out of place. On an album that has a sound more dominantly different than that throughout the rest of the album.
The album goes back into the more soulfully jazzy sounds. On the very next record, an Interlude Called “Circus.” That is also self-produced by Saba. As part of the trio with him, DaedaePIVOT and Daoud. It features another rising talent from the Midwest. Who emerged around the same time as Saba and Pivot Gang. In frequent collaborator and friend, Eryn Allen Kane. The very talented singer and songwriter, as well as sometimes poet. Providing a very soulfully amazing hook/chorus. That is almost spoken-word like on this amazing interlude. Which has Saba and Kane, so effortlessly intertwining harmonies. As Saba reminiscence about the times before he dropped his first record around 2012. That also lets you know to not take for granted anything in life. Cause you never know how long anybody will live or how many high’s. You will have with someone when they are. So to cherish those times.
By the time we reach, the very upbeat lead single, from the album, Fearmonger. We get a track that sums up a majority of the theme of the album. Which is that despite all the success Saba has gained. He still has a fear like most that grew up mostly poor or with little money in Black and/or urban communities. That he can still lose it all at any point. Daoud, who also produced the track. Providing the very comical, but real hook. That then perfectly segues into the Krayzie Bone featured single, Come My Way. One of the album’s most standout records. That finds Saba showing his Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Krayzie Bone influence. With his flow and singing on the very nostalgic track. Sounding almost like he could have been a long lost member of BTNH. As he raps and sings about all the things. So many growing up on the Westide of Chicago had to go through to work to try to just survive. Without going poor or without having much money. In the process of trying to survive such a harsh life and reality. That so many can relate to. With Krayzie also providing the perfect guest verse on the track. That then perfectly segues into the very soulfully jazzy, Still. A record that features 6LACK and frequent collaborator, Smino. As both, Saba and Smino rap about hoping a woman they were with. Still has the same love for them as they always did. With 6LACK providing the catchy, yet still soulfully smooth stellar hook.
By the time we get to the midway point of the album. We get what is not only one of the more standout tracks on the album. But easily one of the top two or three track’s on the album. In the very whimsically pixelated fantasy like production from Monte Booker and Jacob Rochester. On the very laidback and unique, a Simpler Time. A record featuring the very talented, Mereba. Who literally steals the show on the record. As they both sing and rap about the simpler things in life. The record so unique and great. It will literally have you feel like you are floating on air. That then segues so seamlessly into yet another standout. In the Pivot Gang featured, Soldier. A record with its very jazzy production and the smooth flow that both, Saba and the rest of his crew adapt on it. As they go in and out of pocket so ferociously with their stellar wordplay and smooth vocals. Sounds like it could easily fit into virtually any spot on Outkast’s highly regarded and critically-acclaimed third album, Aquemini. With the very smooth beat switch to close the record quite brilliant too. Just when you think the album couldn’t get any better too. Saba, comes with what is easily one of the top two track’s on the album. In the Benjamin Earl Turner featured, If I Had A Dollar.
As we reach the latter part of the album. We get what is one of the few miscues on the whole album. In the very bland and what seems very out of place, Stop That. Things get right back on track though with the very next track, Make Believe. A very beautifully emotionally heartfelt record from Saba. That finds him so beautifully rapping about all the things he used to dream of as make believe. That he was able to make into reality. The voicemails from his grandma, as well as the beat switch and very stellar closing heavenly chorus from, Fosheé. Making it easily the most beautiful and moving track on the album. It may even move you to tears. Though the Daoud and Nascent co-produced very nostalgic, 2012. That features Day Wave. Is also another pretty beautiful track. That has Saba and Day Wave, so beautifully and effortlessly reminiscing about where they are now. Compared to when they first started in 2012. Also comparing their love for Hip-Hop to a girl. That they couldn’t muster the courage to talk or try to ask out at first. Before eventually being able to. The album then closes out perfectly with, the very stellar title track. That features both Hip-Hop legend, Black Thought and for the second time on the album, Eryn Allen Kane. With the track being broken down into three parts. That sees Saba, Black Thought and Saba again. Giving very lyrically raw and honestly relatable lyrics. That most everyone can relate to. Such as Saba’s backend of the track. Where he raps, “The baggage that come with the bag, hope you not fumblin’ it. Marathon, not a sprint. Like I’m honoring’ Nip. When commas the common denominator, all the percent. Got us movin’ to the Pacific in hopes. That it would be different. The boat we was on had physics that left some of us swimmin’. Don’t ask ‘bout my independence. We not financially literate.” Showing that though Thought without a doubt had the better verse not only on the track. But one of the best verses on the album. That Saba can also hold his own pretty well with such heavyweights as, Black Thought.
Overall, A Few Good Things. Is a very stellar and super rawly honest relatable album. With a lot of introspection and hope. Over mostly soulfully jazzy production. That is easily Saba’s biggest album to date and shows. Why he is easily among the best and most versatile emcee’s in all of Hip-Hop right now. As well as one of the most unique there is. With how he is able to so effortlessly and effectively switch styles. The album is also a masterclass in lyricism and production. That is a very enjoyable listen and has plenty of replay value. As well as being very reminiscent to a lot of the classic Conscious Hip-Hop/Rap of yesteryear. From the likes of Chicago Hip-Hop legends like Common and Lupe Fiasco. With, A Few Good Things. Though not a classic album. The closest thing we have got to being a classic Hip-Hop album so far this year. That is sure to make plenty of year-end list’s for not only top Hip-Hop album’s of the year. But top album’s of the year across all music.