For your Friday afternoon and weekend listening, one of the most confessional tracks you will hear all year — off of the most arresting, raw records to come out in 2018. And, one of my absolute top listens this year.
Released in April, Saba’s second full-length record CARE FOR ME is chock full of rapid-fire, deeply personal, introspective and harrowing lyrics. Driven (subconsciously according to Saba) by his emotions following the 2017 murder of his cousin John Walt , Saba bluntly takes on themes of the grief, violence, and inequities of the inner-city Black experience, but also family arguments about his pursuit of hip-hop, spats with girlfriends, childhood memories linked and interwoven with his current day-to-day, bracingly honest statements of male insecurity, and one of the better articulations you’ll hear on the catharsis of writing and artistic release.
“I don’t tell the truth so y’all will feel sorry for me…. / Write it away, write it away / I just got tired of running away, running away / Everyone leaving, I write ’em away, write ’em away / Calligraphy”
Saba packs all of this content into rhymes that are tight and clipped, backed by spare, woozy beats. This is narrative, confessional music — not just rap — at its finest. The record is worth listening to in full (over and over again), but the single LIFE is a stand-out for me.