This album was released on April 5th this year (2018). I really loved Saba’s 2016 release, Bucket List Project, so I think I’m gonna really enjoy this project, especially considering all the praise it’s received. People are calling it one of the best Hip Hop albums of the year, and I have no reason not to believe them. I still listen to songs like Photosynthesis, so I’m hoping this album will have a song as catchy as that one. Every song is produced by Saba, Daoud & daedaePIVOT.
Busy / Sirens featuring theMIND
Fighter featuring Kaina
Logout featuring Chance the Rapper
Prom / King
Heaven All Around Me
Oh shit. He’s rapping about having depression on the first track. This is for me. The production is really smooth & melodic. I’m really digging the vocals from theMIND on the hook too. The third verse from theMIND is dope, and the transition from BUSY to SIRENS is sweet as FUCK. Fuck! Fuck yeah! Sorry. Anyway, I love the weird nasal delivery Saba uses for the verse about his scary relationship with the police. I think I like SIRENS even more than BUSY to be honest. The track as a whole is dope af. The second track is all about how Saba fetishizes emotionally damaged women. It’s kind of fucked up, but he’s self aware. It’s a really good song. I’m not quite as impressed as I was with the introductory songs, but I still really enjoyed it. That outro from Daoud was really nice too.
LIFE is a pretty great song too. I like the beat, and his flow on the hook is really dope. I love his delivery on the second verse too. It’s a pretty short track, so there’s not really much for me to criticize. It’s not my favorite song on the album, but I definitely enjoyed it. The music video was nothing special, but it works I guess. CALLIGRAPHY is another melodic track about using writing as a tool to vent and overcome struggles. Particularly all the mourning he’s had to do. It’s a dope song. I’m not blown away by it, but I really enjoyed it. That outro was really cool. I love the percussion on FIGHTER. I’m not crazy about the hook from Kaina, but the verses have some of the most interesting lyricism on the whole album so far. It was really cool hearing the stories about fights Saba used to get into. I like how all the songs have had really cool outros so far. SMILE is easily the happiest song on the album. I enjoyed it about as much as the previous handful of tracks. It didn’t blow me away, but I was mildly entertained by it. I gotta say, I’m not really being amazed by this album like I thought I would. Maybe my expectations were a bit too high. That’s not to say I think this is a bad album. That’s far from the case. It’s really great so far. Just not “incredible.” LOGOUT is a good track about the negatives of social media. Saba’s not the first rapper to point out issues with the current generation’s obsession with follows & likes, and he surely won’t be the last. I think he did a pretty good job with it though. Chance’s verse was pretty solid. The hook on GREY is really dope. Saba’s got a great ear for melody, and a surprisingly good singing voice. I really love how the production gets jazzier for the final verse, which has a much more energetic delivery. It’s easily one of the most exciting moments on the album in my opinion. It’s dope af. PROM / KING is definitely one of the best songs I’ve heard all year to be honest. This is the kinda shit I wanted to hear. The jazzy production was great, and I love the way the song is structured. Throughout the entire track Saba is rapping his fuckin’ ass off. He tells a vivid story about his relationship with John Walt, an artist who was signed to Saba’s PIVOT label. He unfortunately passed away in another devastating example of Chicagoan violence. The way Saba captured the pressures that come along with prom experiences was really great. It reminded me of how nervous I used to get thinking about prom, and I never even fucking went. The way the song ends with uncredited vocals from John Walt singing about how he hopes he makes it “to tomorrow” are super tragic. It’s an incredible song honestly. HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME is a pretty surreal track. He raps from the perspective of someone who just passed away, and what being in heaven is like. It’s actually pretty goddamn sad. It’s another really great song though. The lush production sounds really pretty. It’s dope af.
This album is really great. There wasn’t a single track that I didn’t like. I think if I had to choose one over the other I’d go with Bucket List Project, but it’s super close honestly. I really don’t think the two projects are that different. This one is a bit more somber, and I like how he kept it short with only 10 tracks. There weren’t any consistent problems with it. I really don’t have any valid complaints. This shit is dope.
Favorite Song: PROM / KING
Least Favorite Song: LOGOUT
Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this album