Saba (rapper)

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Saba
Birth nameTahj Malik Chandler
Born (1994-07-17) July 17, 1994 (age 25)
Chicago, Illinois
GenresHip hop, Jazz rap
Occupation(s)
Instruments
Years active2012–present
Labels
Associated acts

Tahj Malik Chandler (born July 17, 1994), better known by his stage name Saba (stylized as SABA), is an American rapper and record producer. He grew up in the Austin neighborhood of the West Side of Chicago.[1] He is a co-founder of the musical collective Pivot Gang with his brother Joseph Chilliams, their late cousin John Walt, and their high school friend MFn Melo.

Saba initially gained recognition after releasing two independent mixtapes: GETCOMFORTable (2012) and ComfortZone (2014). He was also featured on Chance the Rapper's mixtape Acid Rap, in the song "Everybody's Something". In 2015, Saba and Chance the Rapper collaborated on the song "Angels". The duo performed the song live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, on October 26, 2015.[2] He released his debut album Bucket List Project on October 23, 2016 and his sophomore album Care for Me on April 5, 2018 to widespread critical acclaim.[3]

Early life[edit]

Saba began playing piano at age 7, which led to experimentation with beat making software.[4] He began high school at 12 and graduated at 16 with a 3.5 GPA.[1] He attended St. Joseph's in the Chicago suburb, Westchester.[1] Saba would pass out mixtapes in his high school hallways to get his name out there. At age 16, Saba began performing at YouMedia Center and Young Chicago Authors (YCA) in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.[1] These after school open mics gave Saba the confidence and charisma he portrays on stages today.[4]

Music career[edit]

2012–2014: GETCOMFORTable and ComfortZone[edit]

In December 2012, Saba shared his first project, GETCOMFORTable. The album is a "catalogue of young Chicago talents who join Saba in trying to make sense of themselves as rising adults in today’s world."[4] The most popular song off of GETCOMFORTable was "Heaux" featuring well-known Chicago rapper, Mick Jenkins.

In 2013, Chance the Rapper and Saba joined forces on Chance the Rapper's album Acid Rap. Saba's verse in the song "Everybody's Something" increased his popularity. Saba continued rapping in 2013 and began to create his second mixtape, ComfortZone. The mixtape was released on July 2014. Saba used the album as a window into his life, produced the majority of the tracks on the project. He describes his surrounding and his optimistic attitude in his verses.[4] The most popular song off ComfortZone was "Burnout" featuring Eryn Allen Kane.

2015–2017: Bucket List Project[edit]

Saba contributed to Chance the Rapper and Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment's album Surf on the song "SmthnThtIWant". The album was released in May 2015 for free on iTunes. Saba released an instrumental EP called SpareChange! in 2015. The EP consists of 8 tracks available through Soundcloud. Toward the end of 2015 as well, Saba featured on Chance the Rapper's single "Angels". Chance the Rapper and Saba performed the song "Angels" on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Monday, October 26, 2015. Saba's popularity skyrocketed from his Stephen Colbert performance. The duo represented Chicago's radio stations, with sweatshirts reading "107.5 WGCI" and "Power 92.3" for the performance.

In January 2016, Saba released the single "GPS" featuring his father and musical influence, Chandlar. The single was included in his debut album, Bucket List Project, released on October 27, 2016. The album consists of 13 tracks featuring a wide array of other Chicago-based artists such as Noname, Twista, Akenya, Jean Deaux, and his brother Joseph Chilliams. The album focuses on his upbringing on the West Side and spirituality.[5] In July 2016, Saba also appeared on Noname's debut album, Telefone, on the song Shadow Man alongside Phoelix and Smino.

In 2017, Saba released singles titled "Monday to Monday", "There You Go", and "Where Ideas Sing", however, has not announced a subsequent project for these songs. "Where Ideas Sing" was released on September 28, 2017. Shortly after, September 29, Artwork for the song was featured in downtown Chicago near Apple's new Apple Store on Michigan Avenue. The artwork was to promote both hometown artists Saba and Matthew Hoffman, who created the visual representation of Saba's lyrics.

In late 2017, after the tragic passing of cousin and fellow Pivot Gang member John Walt, Saba and Walt's mother Nachelle started the John Walt Foundation in his memory.[6]

2018–present: Care for Me[edit]

On February 27, 2018, Saba released the track "Busy", shortly after announcing a tour for his second album Care for Me.[7] He released Care for Me on April 5, 2018 with tracks featuring Chance the Rapper, Kaina, and theMIND.[8] Put together by producers daedaePIVOT Daoud and Saba himself, the album is dedicated to his late cousin and close friend Walter Long Jr. aka John Walt; who was “fatally stabbed” in Chicago due to a situation on the train in Chicago in February 2017. Walter is heavily mentioned in the songs: "Busy", "Life", and "Prom / King". the latter recounts the events that Saba and Walter shared with each other leading up to Walter's death.[9]

Saba was named one of 10 "Chicagoans of the Year" by the Chicago Tribune on December 27, 2018, for his music and his contributions to the John Walt Foundation, a foundation named in Walter Long's memory launched by Saba and Long's mother in 2017 to "foster the arts for Chicago youth".[10]

Artistry[edit]

Influences[edit]

Saba was influenced by his father, a Chicago R&B artist named Chandlar, at a young age.[11] Chandlar would bring Saba to the studio with him to record sounds of soul, R&B and jazz.

Saba credits fellow Midwest musicians Lupe Fiasco, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and Kanye West as his biggest influence. Bone Thugs-n-Harmony got Saba into rap and made him want to write raps himself.[4]

Saba was also influenced by his older brother and his older brother's friends. His brother is a rapper who goes by Joseph Chilliams and his cousin was a rapper who went by John Walt. Together, Saba's family and friends, are the backbone of the rap crew Pivot Gang. Pivot Gang is named after the famous scene in Friends where Ross, Rachel, and Chandler move a couch up the stairs and Ross continuously yells, "pivot." To the rap crew it means "to take things one step at a time and to always progress."[12]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums with selected details
Title Album details
Bucket List Project
Care for Me
  • Released: April 5, 2018
  • Label: Saba Pivot, LLC
  • Formats: Digital download, vinyl

Mixtapes[edit]

List of mixtapes with selected details
Title Album details
Get Comfortable
  • Released: December 21, 2012[13]
  • Label: Saba Pivot, LLC.
  • Formats: Digital download
Comfort Zone
  • Released: July 15, 2014[14]
  • Label: Saba Pivot, LLC.
  • Formats: Digital download

Compilation albums[edit]

List of studio albums with selected details
Title Album details
JIMMY
  • Released: October 15, 2013
  • Formats: Digital download
You Can't Sit With Us
  • Released: April 19, 2019
  • Formats: Digital download

Extended plays[edit]

List of extended plays with selected details
Title Album details
SpareChange!

Singles[edit]

As lead artist[edit]

List of singles as lead artist, showing year released and album name
Title Year Album
"GPS"
(featuring Twista)
2016 Bucket List Project
"Westside Bound 3"
(featuring Joseph Chilliams)
"World In My Hands"
(featuring Smino & LEGIT)
2017
"Monday to Monday"[16] 2017 non-album single
"Busy"[17] 2018 Care for Me
"Life"[18]

As featured artist[edit]

List of singles as featured artist, with showing year released, peak chart positions and album name
Title Year Peak chart positions Album
US
[19]
US
R&B
/HH

[20]
"Angels"[21]
(Chance the Rapper featuring Saba)
2015 [A] [B] Coloring Book
"Pay the Man (Remix)"
(Foster the People featuring J.I.D and Saba)
2017 Non-album single
"History"
(Ursa The Chef featuring Cub J, Michael King and Saba)

Guest appearances[edit]

List of non-single guest appearances, with other performing artists, showing year released and album name
Title Year Other artist(s) Album
"Own Two (Hold You Down)" 2013 The Palmer Squares Finna
"Everybody's Something" Chance the Rapper, BJ the Chicago Kid Acid Rap
"Bacteria/Fungi/Virus" Vic Spencer The Rapping Bastard
"Ugly Duckling" 2014 Trevor the Trash Man I Want It All
"Play" 2015 Rich Robbins Nimbus
"What Kings Do" Odd Couple, Carl, Taylor Bennett Chatterbox
"Equinox" Zaramela Zaramela on AuidoTree Live
"MIA" ProbCause Drifters
"SmthnthtIwnt" Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment Surf
"Temporary" Tink Non-album single
"VIP" Chris Crack, Sulaiman Public Domain 4
"Givenchy Coasters" Chris Crack Non-album single
"Faded" 2016 Sir Collins, Gianni Ready Or Not
"Buddha" Phoelix Non-album single
"Herstory" Anthony Pavel Windows
"Shadow Man" Noname, Phoelix, Smino Telefone
"Tears of Legend" Xavier & The Trill Trill
"My Wallet" Jay IDK, Michael Christmas, Jimi Tents Empty Bank
"Riot" Trapo Shade Trees
"Dive Club" Owen Bones Dive Club
"Cornerstore" Joey Purp, TheMIND iiiDrops
"YES" Isaiah G & Aaron Deux Grown Adolescence
"Energies" 2017 Mick Jenkins Or More; the Anxious
"Ace" 2018 Noname, Smino Room 25
"Basquiat" 2019 Jamila Woods Legacy! Legacy!
"Sacrifices" EarthGang, J. Cole, Smino Revenge of the Dreamers III

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Angels" did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number nineteen on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot 100.
  2. ^ "Angels" did not enter the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, but peaked at number 4 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart, which acts as an extension to the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Tours[edit]

Headlining
  • ComfortZone Live (2015)
  • Bucket List Tour Tour (2017)
  • Care For Me Tour (2018)
  • Care For Me Tour Aus/Asia (2018)
  • Care For Me Tour Europe (2019)
Supporting

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Krzeczowski, Jake. "Saba's West Side Story Is One Worth Listening To". Noisey. Vice. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  2. ^ Lipshutz, Jason. "Chance the Rapper's "Angels" Single Performs on "Stephen Colbert"". Fuse. Fuse. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Saba: CARE FOR ME". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Bio". Saba Pivot. Haight. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  5. ^ Mench, Chris (October 28, 2016). "Saba's New Project 'Bucket List'". Complex. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "John Walt Foundation". John Walt Foundation. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  7. ^ Schatz, Lake (February 27, 2018). "Saba stays "Busy" with new single and video: Watch". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved April 5, 2018.
  8. ^ Rinder, Grant. "Saba Releases Candid, Introspective Album 'Care For Me'". Pigeons & Planes.
  9. ^ "Why Saba's Candid 'Care for Me' Album Tugged at So Many Heartstrings [Recap]". Okayplayer. 2018-04-05. Retrieved 2019-03-07.
  10. ^ Kot, Greg. "Chicagoan of the Year: Rapper Saba turns grief into a year of musical catharsis". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  11. ^ Goddard, Kevin. "Saba - GPS Feat. Chandlar [New Song]". Hot New Hip Hop. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  12. ^ G, Lucas. "From Saba to FRSH Waters, Your Guide to Pivot Gang". Dj Booth. Purenine Studios. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Saba – GETCOMFORTable". Audiomack. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  14. ^ "ComfortZone by SABA". SoundCloud. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  15. ^ "Saba Releases Instrumental EP, 'SpareChange!'". Hypebeast. September 26, 2015. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  16. ^ "Monday to Monday - Single by Saba on Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  17. ^ "Busy". iTunes. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "Life". iTunes. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  19. ^ "Chance the Rapper – Chart History: Hot 100". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 26, 2016.
  20. ^ "Chance the Rapper – Chart History: R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved May 25, 2016.
  21. ^ "Angels (feat. Saba) - Single by Chance the Rapper on Apple Music". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved July 30, 2016.