Saba Confronts His Demons & Mortality With A Bleak Certainty In Life (Video)
As listeners have learned with the unfolding of Saba’s new album Care For Me, beginning with the release of the project’s first video single (“Busy”) last month, it’s has been quite a disheartening and dreary recent stretch of life for the 23-year-old Chicago-based MC. The culmination of that bleakness coming in February of 2017, when Saba’s cousin, dear friend, and PIVOT Gang collaborator, John Walt, was brutally murdered in an altercation and eventual stabbing on Chicago’s Green Line train. Spending the majority of 2017 working on Care For Me, the album’s tone naturally reflects Saba’s suffering and sunken psyche. Stopping by Sway In The Morning earlier this week in promotion of the album and ongoing tour, Saba conveyed, “When I was working on Care For Me, it was probably like the lowest point of my life.”
The second set of visuals from Care For Me come in the form of “LIFE,” the album’s third track. While the production would initially suggest a lively climate, the lyrical content continues the acute exploration into not only the rapper’s recent demons, but also some of his life-long anguishes. Seemingly nearing a point of suffocation via a revolving door of heartache, Saba feels taunted by darkness and expiration, pronouncing immediately off the jump, “I got angels runnin’ ‘way / I got demons huntin’ me / I know Pac was 25 / I know Jesus 33 / I tell death to keep a distance / I think he obsessed with me.”
Paired with ominous black-and-white visuals, Saba ultimately utilizes the track as a canvas to paint lyrical depictions of growing up in a poverty-stricken household, mass incarceration, his uncle’s post-prison passing, his father leaving him when he was four years old, and his battle with being anti-social in a sociable climate. While Care For Me’s first single, ”Busy,” saw the West Side of Chicago MC more paralyzed by his agony, “LIFE” trends more towards a defeated, yet pensively vehement Saba.
There are minuscule flashes of hopefulness within Care For Me, but in a current social altitude where genuine suffering can be masked by the curated facade of jubilation, it is incredibly refreshing to see a purposeful artist share their grief in such courageously sincere fashion. As evidenced by Saba’s journey, in many scenarios throughout life the truth can hurt. In the case of Care For Me, while there may not be any emotional triumph at its conclusion, for both the artist and the listener, the truth can both hurt and heal.
Songs From Saba, Freddie Gibbs, CyHi The Prynce, Nipsey Hussle, and Nicki Minaj are new additions to the official Ambrosia For Heads playlist.
#BonusBeat: As noted above, Saba swung through Sway In The Morning earlier this week:
Saba has an extended conversation about the album with the crew, and eventually shifts into freestyle mode.