Tahj Malik Chandler, better known as Saba, recently released his sophomore record titled “CARE FOR ME” after the big success from his 2016 record “Bucket List.”
But, does this new project hit the same spots that “Bucket List” does?
At the end of the day, “CARE FOR ME” is probably the best hip-hop album to come out this year, but there are still flaws here and there that keep the project from coming into its full potential.
But, let’s start with the themes of the album because if you don’t understand why this record was made, then you really shouldn’t be listening to the album.
The Chicago native is in a pretty dark place on this record.
He includes small stories about his uncle coming out of jail and then dying right afterward, his best friend being sent to jail and finally being released, and, the most glaring and dominant story, the death of his cousin, and best friend, Walter Long Jr.
Saba, for most of the record, is discussing different life events that he is fond of about his friend and uncle before their untimely events came to pass.
For Walter he discusses his deepest, most cherished and memorable memories of his cousin, as well as the events leading up to his unfortunate death.
It’s very potent on the track “PROM / KING,” where he talks about his closest memory of his cousin, Malik’s first prom, going to college, hanging out at parties and running into small troubles with girlfriends, parents and dating.
Then he has a very beautiful beat change where he is rapping about the minute-by- minute playback of everything that happened before the death of Walter and what was going through his mind after the fact.
But, enough about the subject matter of the record because you deserve to dissect the record for yourself.
Now, onto what was also great and what wasn’t great.
First off, the flow coming off Saba is so intricate and well-done. He has so many different rapping styles from nasally fast- paced rapping, to low-key rapping.
Saba also has a great selection of beats to rap over that have influences in jazz, soul, R&B, trap and pop. Each song is different from the last, but they are seamlessly woven together to create a full project.
It’s like listening to “Coloring Book” by Chance the Rapper with its very colorful and jazzy beats, “Good Kid Maad City” by Kendrick Lamar with the in-depth life review and “Telefone” by Noname with the very conversational flow and style of rapping.
A great example is again with the track “PROM / KING,” which starts with a very slow yet charming piano jazz ballad, which then changes to an energetic drum jazz beat.
Then the two beats come together and as the story gets more and more close to his cousin’s death, the drumming gets faster until he finally expresses it and everything gets cold and eerie feeling.
Saba has a great ear for great beats and has a great flow and style to pair with them.
But, everything isn’t sunshine and rainbows because at the end of the day he still has a hard time distinguishing himself from the rest of the Chicago rap scene.
This really isn’t horrible since the Chicago rap scene seems to do this all the time and probably will continue to do it into the future.
But, Saba seems like the one rapper who could diversify himself from the rest of the crowd and he experimented with it on “CARE FOR ME,” but needs to just go for it on the next project.
I still love the record and put it on all the time, but he has a bit to go before he really separates himself from his peers.
Happy listening and a happy summer Gannon University. See you all in the fall!
• Rating: 8/10
• Favorite Song: “PROM/KING” OR “GREY”
• Least Favorite Song: “LOGOUT”