Welcome to “New Music with Nick”. In this column, I’ll review some of the most notable album releases across various genres, focusing on hip-hop, R&B, and pop music. Join me as I explore the ever-changing landscape of the streaming era.
Few artists possess Saba’s combination of abilities to write, rap, produce and curate such incredible music. Saba cemented his name as one of the most talented hip-hop artists in the world right now after releasing his latest album “Care For Me”, a true modern classic and an almost flawless record. Ever since Saba really started bursting onto the hip-hop scene with his 2014 “Comfort Zone” mixtape, it’s become pretty obvious that he has some rare talent. The young Chicago rapper’s skills have only grown since he released this phenomenal mixtape as a teenager.
Saba’s latest album comes nearly four years after her last official album. However, he has remained active over the past few years with a handful of singles, prominent features, and work to help lead and contribute to the Pivot Gang Collective. His singles over the past few years have helped him stay top of mind and prove that his skills only get sharper with time. “Stay Right Here” and “Black Astronaut” not only offered some of Saba’s best work, but truly some of the best singles I’ve heard in the past four years in all of hip-hop.
“Few Good Things” comes at a pivotal time in Saba’s legacy as an artist. Following an album as deep, beautiful and well executed as “Care For Me” is an extremely difficult task, especially for an artist who is still in such a young phase of his career. Luckily, Saba is such an all-around creative that it’s nearly impossible for him to do a bad compilation, which is clearly seen here.
One of the greatest aspects of Saba’s independence is its full creative freedom. There are no labels he has to answer to, no groups of producers and features he has to pull from, and no limits to his vision to make masterpieces that match his inspiration. It all comes to fruition as Saba wishes, spotlighting one of the best creative minds in hip-hop. The production is very fair and appropriate from top to bottom: not too many beats that will really shock a listener but a largely cohesive and complementary collection. The overall structure of the album and the themes are as complex as I could have hoped.
The nuance in the songwriting and concept construction was phenomenal and stood out throughout the album. The care with which each part of his stories is told perfectly justifies the four-year delay since his last album. For example, “One Way or Every N***a With a Budget” expresses Saba’s happiness with her increased wealth and the benefits that come with having money and the ability to cover the expenses of her loved ones. . On the track immediately following, “Survivor’s Guilt”, Saba details the traumas and horrors that have lingered with him since his youth and their direct juxtaposition to the situations he presented in the previous song. These thematic links are ubiquitous and the whole project comes together to form a cohesive autobiography.
“Few Good Things” is a rags-to-riches painting that flatly ignores the false illusions and fairy tales of success. The album touches on the wonderful aspects of Saba’s life, the horrible things he saw that still weigh on him, and everything in between. Growing up in Chicago, Saba’s formative experiences had all sorts of complicated effects on his development that he still comes to terms with through his thoughtful reflections. Everything that made Saba what he is today is present in “Few Good Things”: love, relationships, violence, horror, confusion, exploration, beauty.
A calming quality and engaging sound in the middle of the album is really the only thing that keeps it from being absolutely phenomenal. From “Come My Way” to “If I Had A Dollar” (except for “Soldier”), the album takes a creative dip and fails sonically. Especially considering the strength of some of the features in these tracks, such as Smino and Mereba, this short section was underwhelming.
Fortunately, the preparation for this section was fantastic and the last four tracks were equally excellent. The first five songs and the last four songs flow together so well and would have made an almost perfect album on their own. Songs like “2012” and “Few Good Things” show the extent of Saba’s notoriety as an artist, telling some of the most heartfelt stories and well-constructed artistry you can find in modern hip-hop. .
Saba’s latest album confirms that there are few artists of the genre worldwide who have her level of talent and artistry. Its greatness will last. It is built from deep and fundamental aspects that make music and art beautiful and fulfilling, a vision that will always stand the test of time. I truly believe we will reach the point where Saba will generally be considered a modern legend in hip-hop and music in general, someone who brought something special and wonderful to the world of music. “Few Good Things” is one of the most heartfelt and best-executed albums of the past year, not just in hip-hop, but in any genre.
Favorite songs: “One Way or Every N***a With A Budget”, “2012”, “an interlude called “Circus”, “Soldier”, “Survivor’s Guilt”, “Stop That”, “Fearmonger”, “Few Good Things”
Album rating: 88/100
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Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, reflections, and critiques.