Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking to one of Chicago’s fastest rising young rappers, Saba. A fellow Columbia student, Saba has been hard at work for as long as he can remember on his second mixtape, ComfortZone, which drops today. Caught in a tidal wave of good, new Chicago hip-hop coming out, Saba is invested in getting ComfortZone out to the rap fans supporting Chicago hip-hop around the city, country, and even the world. His tone sounded confident and ready, with a fire in his voice of someone ready to let out a secret he’s been keeping for too long. We can only wait and see what Saba has in store for us eager fans waiting for ComfortZone, but for now, check out his thoughts and opinions on ComfortZone, AEMMP Records, and the state of music in Chicago in general below.
As you gear up for the release of ComfortZone, what is your biggest goal with dropping this project?
My biggest goal is to establish myself as one of the leading members of (the Chicago rap) scene. I have no expectations or anything like that, it’s more like I know that I’ve been putting everything I have into this project for a while. I just want people to get something out of it and as long as they feel something when listening to it, I’m satisfied. If it changes how they do certain things or even if it’s just changes their appreciation for music, I’d be happy.
What has changed most about your musical and recording styles since “get COMFORTable”, your last project?
The biggest difference you’ll here is my writing ability. I focused a lot of writing and what I was writing about and ways to make it more special to the listener. I also have access to more in terms of recording than I did with “getCOMFORTable”. I did that all in my basement and ComfortZone was recorded mostly all in professional studios. You’ll also hear the musical elements have increased because now I have access to a bunch of great musicians. Everything is more musical, the project is realer, and I think it’s a good example of what’s to come from here.
You’ve been involved with AEMMP Records for a while and are a student at Columbia College Chicago.
Columbia, just by being a student, has helped me with networking and making me become more social, because I was a super shy kid. So going there made me really have to step out of my comfort zone, so to say, and speak up and shit like that. AEMMP on the other hand; all of the stuff I have done for AEMMP doesn’t sound like any of my other stuff. The song “Cursive” in particular, especially. It has just been beneficial to me to help me spread out and meet people worth meeting. A real good vibe.
What was it like working with Noname Gypsy and C-Sick on “La Collection”, our release from this last spring?
Noname is one of my favorite people to work. That’s like damn near one of my best friends so it’s like hella easy for us to work together. It was just easy. She just sent me the song and “Lay a verse down” and it was like, alright word! That was my first time working with C-Sick and we had spoke about working together before but had never, so it was cool to finally do that. Most of it was rather simple; it was just getting the takes down. Everything else came naturally.
Who would you site out of Chicago in music that has influenced your style and music over the years?
Crucial Conflict has had a big influence on me. Kanye, I guess? Haha, as far as big sounding, soulful shit. Lupe had a nice influence on me my freshman year of high school. But Common’s “Be” is one of the greatest albums, I think. Yeah, haha.
Most star striking moment?
January 11th at this show with Mick Jenkins, Noname, and Dally Auston did at Reggie’s Rock Club. That was probably the best show I’ve been apart of. It was a sold out show but none of us had projects out at the time. It was just a real loving crowd, singing everyone’s songs and shit.
What is the song of the Summer of 2014?
No Flex Zone by Rae Sremmurd
Last question, what is your message to listeners of ComfortZone?
I’m just like you is the real message. Anybody can do this. A lot of artists are put on these giant pedestals and I don’t know, I just feel like everyone is accessible and anyone can accomplish anything they put their mind to. All the songs that made the track list are real universal and the project’s appeal could help them accomplish anything they set their mind to. A gotdamn near self-help album, haha.