Though his debut, Bucket List Project, was released only in 2016, it feels like it’s been a long road to Saba’s sophomore album, CARE FOR ME. The rapper, who has been at the forefront of the Woke City movement to delineate Chicago as the most lyrically and socially motivated in all of music – has kept plenty behind shrouds leading up to the release. A pair of early singles, BUSY and LIFE displayed the thoughtful, new wave hustle we’ve come to expect from the young generation of Chicago’s hip-hop artists, while at the same time, exhibiting Saba’s unique, oftentimes cutthroat delivery that drives his meaningful lyricism to its point of unavoidability.
But it wasn’t until we had CARE FOR ME in its entirety that we were able to see just how grandiose Saba’s plans for the project really were. It is a musical whirlwind taking its listener along an unpredictable series of waves lyrical of course, but also deeply emotional, psychological, and at times, rather psychedelic. From end to end, it comes together as an exploration of Saba himself, and through his artistry and his character, an exploration of daily life through the lens of further and further specificities - that of a young man, a young black man, a young black burgeoning celebrity, and at its core, simply a deeply relatable character with which all who listen willingly empathize.
If Bucket List Project was the handshake that introduced Saba and his unique take on hip-hop to the world, CARE FOR ME, is the first night out with a new friend spent learning about each other's lives over a stream of liquor. It has left no doubt that Saba's leadership roles atop the exploding Chicago scene and in front of the young generation of versatile hip-hip artists is deserved and exciting.