Essential Listening: ComfortZone
Pros: He's linked to all the right, like-minded rappers in Chicago.
Cons: His production sensibilities are shaky and sometimes dated.
Youthfulness is essential to Saba's appeal. On the strength of his energetic, cartoonish dynamism, he's made some of my favorite mixtape material of the past year or so; go listen to “Burnout,” “401K,” and “United Center” to feel me on this one. Saba's put in work for a few years now, having featured on fellow Chicago native Chance the Rapper's Acid Rap in 2013 and then dropped his own impressive mixtape, ComfortZone, last summer. In 2015 so far, Saba's biggest move was his feature (“SmthnthtIwnt”) on Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment's epic Surf, with hopefully more to come in the way of solo material between now and December. He dropped a new single featuring Tink a few weeks ago. We'll see. —JC