Out of Chicago’s electrifying hip-hop scene comes 20-year-old rapper and producer Saba. He first caught my eye in 2013, when a rising Chance The Rapper recruited him for Acid Rap. Saba’s scene- stealing appearance on “Everybody’s Something” led many to dig deeper into his catalog. Turns out he wasn’t just a great MC but a talented producer.
Saba’s breakthrough work ComfortZone evokes the feeling of classic jazz, soul and R&B—not the traditional drill music currently coming out of the city. Saba oozes charisma, and his live shows are consistently packed—making him one of the most captivating young minds in the Windy City’s crowded scene. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
SABA: THE MC AND PRODUCER PLAYS WORD ASSOCIATION
Sound to me is music. I’m one of those music nerds who thinks that there is something beautiful in all music, and I feel like there is music in all sound. Sound is really vibration, and to me good vibration is the most important thing in the universe.
Chicago is amazing. There are so many positive things going on here, which is what I like to focus on. The gang stuff and the violence is all real, but I feel as though it’s so overdone that it adds to the problem rather than helps it. Now when I hear the word Chicago, I think of music. It’s crazy—it’s just that much of a musical place. There are so many cultures and scenes within scenes here. I feel like all of the voices in this city are important and like they’re all starting to be heard.
Influence, for me, is how new you can be, not just reinventing things that have already been done in the past. I would say that hands down my biggest influence was Bone Thugs-n- Harmony. They’re the ones who actually made me like rap and want to do it. Another huge influence on my music was my father, Chandlar. He was on ComfortZone too. But he’s a singer—he does soul, R&B and a lot of neo-soul stuff, which is what got me into having more neo-soul-sounding tracks. I love lots of chord progressions, but that came from my father.