Few Good Things by Saba album review by Stephan Boissonneault. The Chicago rapper's LP is now out via The Orchard/Pivot Gang

The Orchard/Pivot Gang

8

Saba

Few Good Things

Chicago rapper, Saba’s, 2018 sophomore album, CARE FOR ME, came from a place of pain and eulogy after his young cousin/ Pivot Gang brother, John Walt, was fatally stabbed on a train in Chicago. It was written as a form of artistic catharsis and allowed Saba, whose real name is Tahj Malik Chandler, to cope, grieve, and work through his depression.

And with one-liners like “Jesus got killed for his sins/Walter got killed for a coat,” it also pushed him into a realm of critical acclaim.

Now, four years later, he is reborn on a Few Good Things, an album that really fits warmly into the soft soul aspects of hip hop and has him standout as one of the more interesting rappers in the Chicago scene. The title and last track “Few Good Things,” somes ups up the thematic impetus: coming to terms with success despite coming from nothing. Simply, Saba has had wild success despite a few turbulent years, and it’s grading on him as he ponders “Do I deserve it?”

Saba is also a chameleon who switches up his lyrical flow, sounding like Kendrick Lamar on an angrier song like “Survivor’s Guilt,” or J. Cole on the more funky “Fearmonger.”

This instrumentation and production on Few Good Things draws from old school soft funk, free jazz, and off-kilter percussion ala Outkast or even D’Angelo and The Vanguard on Black Messiah. Though there is a huge amount of looping, interestingly, there’s next to no sampling and all instrumentation comes from Saba himself, switching off keyboards, drum machine, bass, guitars, and producers Daoud and daedaePIVOT. It’s a pretty rare aspect for rappers nowadays, who rely on sampling to create their beats.

One breakout track is “Still” with its grabbing bass and feature vocals from 6lack and Smino. It’s simple, hypnotic and Saba (who learned the piano from age 7 and has been a beat maker 20 years after), knows how to masterfully layer.

There are a few tracks that fall short on Few Good Things like “If I Had A Dollar,” that relies on heavy autotune and pretty boilerplate verse, but as a whole Few Good Things is thoroughly enjoyable front to back for new and old old fans alike.

Order Few Good by Saba HERE

Order tickets for Saba’s upcoming Back Home Tour HERE