(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Bucket List Project (2016), 6/10
Care for Me (2018), 6.5/10
Few Good Things (2022) , 6/10

Chicago's rapper Tahj "Saba" Chandler, a member of the collective Pivot Gang and of the rapping trio Ghetto Sage, debuted solo with Bucket List Project (2016), which contains at least three great narratives (Photosynthesis, Westside Bound 3, and Church / Liquor Store) and one great instrumental (American Hypnosis) but also a lot of filler. Depression and anxiety dominate Care for Me (2018), devoted to the stabbing to death of a Saba relative and co-produced by fellow Pivot members Dylan "DaeDae" Fran and Daoud. Saba did it again: some excellent and harrowing storytelling (the seven-minute Prom/ King, Heaven All Around Me, Busy/ Sirens), with a voice that sometimes apes Kendrick Lamar, one great jazz-hop instrumental (Calligraphy), but also some filler. Lyrically, few rappers of his generation could compete with Saba. Musically, the production is so smooth that one almost doesn't realize this is still hip-hop.

Few Good Things (2022) is both less austere/ambitious and less musically cohesive. The highlights are the clownish 2021 single Fearmonger, the pop-hop ditties One Way or Every N**** With a Budget and Soldier, the Afro-beat of Still, and the incursion in drill/trap Survivorís Guilt. The narrative tour de force here is the seven-minute Few Good Things. But much is half-baked, and sometimes feels simply like an imitation of fashionable styles.

(Copyright © 2021 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )