Stop That – [Saba]

Few people are as important and pivotal as Saba is in the Chicago rap scene, no pun intended. From the very early moments in his career until now, he has changed so many people’s lives with his music, sharing some very tough, introspective moments of his life with his listeners, and this has done so much for so many different fans. Not only this, but he has dealt with so many personal hardships over the last few years, but he doesn’t let these things slow him down, and although they’re things that cause him pain and heartbreak, he perseveres, and that’s one of the most prominent takeaways I have about who he is as a person, not just an artist. Care for Me came out back in 2018 and is still one of my favorite projects of the last decade, but I know he has a lot more to share, so finding out that his third studio album Few Good Things is finally set to release on February 4th of next year, I couldn’t be more ecstatic. Although this seems like it’s still so far in the future, Saba continued his hot streak today with the release of a brand-new …

Ziplock / Rich Don’t Stop [Saba]

Certain artists have such an exceptional appeal to them that it’s never any doubt their next release will be top quality; Saba undoubtedly is among this eye-capturing list. The Chicago native has quietly dropped singles in spurts, having released “So and So / Areyoudown? Pt. 2,” followed by “Mrs. Whoever / Something in the Water” in 2020. To kick off 2021, “Ziplock / Rich Don’t Stop” is a two-song offering combined for a pristine Ian Lipton directed visual. Produced by daedaePIVOT and Daoud, each track takes on a different yet equally important introspective lens from within Saba’s burdened psyche. Disclosing that his best days are all in the past, “Ziplock” is a conflicting tale of the blessings and luxuries in Saba’s life that are tainted by societal and personal setbacks. Whether the struggles amount to trauma from loss/grief, the cons of his career success, or non-existent support from police, Saba emphatically remarks that’s he’s willing to ‘bet’ & ‘risk’ it all, which perhaps could be the price of inner peace. On “Rich Don’t Stop,” the record details various aspects of society, as well as dominant emotions that seem to be entrenched in an eerie perpetual loop. Moreover, the song title …

So and So [Saba] x [Flex Lennon]

“I was talking with some friends recently, and we were talking about vulnerability. My idea or explanation of it immediately went to dealing with adversity and sharing that experience of overcoming it. Everybody kind of came to that conclusion for it. And another friend brought up the fact that sharing joy and sharing happiness is also vulnerable” – Saba After a brief music hiatus, Chicago native and Pivot Gang veteran Saba recently dropped a satisfying two song bundle. The first of the pair is titled “So and So,” which is a brief, yet addictive banger produced by Flex Lennon. Lennon’s instrumental incorporates a nice mixture of a soothing melody with up-tempo 808’s, which perfectly aligns with Saba’s lowkey yet striking signature flow. The paired track is titled “Areyoudown Pt. 2,” which is jointly produced by fellow Pivot Gang member daedaePIVOT & Hawaii based producer Mr. Carmack. Lasting just 121 seconds, the song admittedly sounds effortless due its length, but per usual Saba somehow maintains his perfect enjoyability record. Not to mention, the subject matter is quite serious despite the track’s short duration, as Saba reflects on various mental afflictions that he’s had to overcome. Unafraid of expressing his vulnerabilities, Saba …

Top 50 Chicago Projects of 2019

Turning the page into the next decade, our fourth edition of the “Top 50 Chicago Projects of the Year” list marks a special occasion. From the first list until now, four years means more than just four years of picks. It tracks four years of growth from some of our favorite artists, and a chance to watch last year’s entries rise up the ranks and improve, one year after the next. This year, we’re welcoming several Chicago mainstays as well as a plethora of new faces. The constant between every pick? A strong representation of the talent in Chicago, solidifying the city as a front runner in the trend-setting landscape of hip-hop. If there’s any city presenting some of music’s premier faces, both old and new, it’s Chicago, just as we aim to capture on this list. That said, below is Lyrical Lemonade’s top 50 Chicago projects of 2019. Thank you to all of the artists working so hard to provide us with music, and here’s to a promising decade to come for Chicago music. From 2019 ’til infinity. Honorable Mentions: Chanelle Truvillion, Kiraly Payne — 50) Josi Green & Ausar – The Good & The Bad EP Josi Green …

Everybody Eats – [MFnMelo]

As the clock winds down on an already impressive year for Chicago’s Pivot Gang, the group couldn’t let these final weeks pass without one more memorable release from within its ranks. Today, MFnMelo steps into the spotlight with his debut album, ‘Everybody Eats’. The first project from Melo since 2017’s ‘Melodramatics’ features help from the Chicago native’s close circle of local talents and offers up the most comprehensive catalog of Melo’s own talent yet. Packed with Melo’s mix of personal narrative, sense of humor, and cunning wordplay, he distinguishes himself by putting his own authenticity at the fore of ‘Everybody Eats’. As a member of Pivot who’s worked relatively in the shadows up to this point, ‘Everybody Eats’ feels like a moment of transcendence into the light. He employs all the tools at his disposal with the polish of a seasoned veteran. He delivers melody on multiple hooks throughout the project while seamlessly transitions back to his weighty, definitive rapping that places emphasis on every syllable. Each lyric gets executed with its own burst of air as if he’s vying for a listener’s attention every second, and he holds a listener there with him the whole time through a sea …

Where It’s At – [Saba]

As the credits roll on 2018, Saba caps off the year with his 6th straight week of new music. “Where It’s At” is the latest in a series of new singles this month from the Westside Chicago rapper, and it features in-house production from PIVOT Gang’s DaeDaePivot and Saba himself — a formula for success, if you’ve been paying attention to recent releases. As he raps about finding peace of mind, it’s clear he’s come a long way following the release of his acclaimed album, Care For Me. In contrast to the darker, emotional tone of the project, “Where It’s At” and the rest of the singles Saba dropped this month have kept things more upbeat—indicative of the massively successful year he’s had so far. Care For Me has been popping up all over year-end lists, even coming in at #1 on DJBooth’s 50 Best Hip-Hop and R&B albums of 2018. Needless to say, the accolades are well deserved: the hometown hero triumphed through tragedy this year all while delivering more of the poetic storytelling and raw lyricism fans have come to love throughout his career. Take a victory lap with Saba on “Where It’s At” below:

Excited – [Saba]

Saba keeps the weekly drop streak going this Friday with yet another new song titled “Excited”. On the heels of last week’s Pivot Gang crew-cut “Blood” and the 2nd annual John Walt Day show, the West-side Chicago native’s work ethic seems to really be kicking into gear right now to end the year with a bang. On “Excited, Saba puts his flows on cruise control, navigating the beat with slick cadences that seem to come automatically for him. Always one to incorporate whatever’s going on in his life directly into his lyrics, he raps about the lifestyle of being on tour and being in a relationship and ties everything together into a warm, melodic hook. Frequent collaborators Daoud and DaeDaePIVOT handle the production alongside Saba himself, adding warm textures to his bars through soft horn sections and a steady bounce. Listen to “Excited” below, and be on the lookout for a possible new release next week from Saba as well:

Blood – [Pivot Gang]

Pivot Gang’s story up to this point has already been a long one, yet the Chicago collective spearheaded by Saba is only starting to garner the attention they deserve. Their new crew cut, “Blood”, serves as a reminder of the range of talent in Pivot’s ranks and a family reunion just in time for Thanksgiving. ‘Chicago’s Most Charming Rapper’ Joseph Chilliams kicks off the track with his signature sense of humor, followed by MfnMelo’s laidback flow that switches up the pace of the song at just the right time. Frsh Waters, who’s emerged this year with a few promising tracks of his own, closes the song out and finishes his last verse with finesse. Saba holds things down on the hook, tying the gang together by proclaiming his loyalty to his family. It’s been a minute since Pivot dropped a group track, and hopefully “Blood” is a sign of more to come. Listen to “Blood” below, and if you’re in Chicago this weekend, see Pivot Gang in action at the 2nd annual John Walt Day this Saturday. produced by @daedaePIVOT & @squeakPIVOT

Watch Saba on NPR Tiny Desk

Unless you have been living under a rock you clearly known who Saba is at this point, the Chicago native released arguably my favorite album of the year “Care For Me” a couple months back & he recently stopped by NPR Tiny Desk to performance some cuts from the album. He didn’t go solo though, he was assisted by plenty of great minds who helped him create the previously mentioned album such as producers & keys Daoud & daedaePIVOT, Noah Frank on the trumpet, bass player Cheflee, drummer Brandon Farmer and his father, theMIND & Kaina on the vocals. Saba also recently released his brand new vinyl for “Care For Me” so if you loved the album like we did here at LL be sure to purchase it here, and if you are in the city be sure to support the second annual John Walt Day on November 24th, you can find tickets for that here.

Off Instinct – [Frsh Waters]

PIVOT Gang member Frsh Waters made a splash late last year with his explosive single “Piss Po’”. Assisted by Chicago’s Jean Deaux and over a beat produced by Saba, the song marked Frsh’s first piece of new music since serving a 4-and-a-half year prison sentence. He wasted no time, stealing listeners’ attention with his sharp, dyanmic flows, and he brings the same level of precision on the mic for his new track “Off Instinct”. Much like the rest of the PIVOT roster, Frsh packs a whole lot into his bars, letting different parts of his story unravel through his rhymes. He incorporates his upbringing on Chicago’s Westside, growing up with “coupe ambitions” and the idea of hustling to make something out of nothing. Ultimately, the track serves as a testament to Frsh’s loyalty and the idea of stepping up for your team when the time comes. PIVOT’s in-house producer daedaePIVOT offers up effervescent, lo-fi vibes that feel natural under Frsh’s steady delivery. “Off Instinct” also marks the first of what Frsh is calling “Frsh Friday’s”, so hopefully we can expect more where this came from next week.