20 Questions: Saba
Chicago-born rapper and producer Saba treats the recording studio like a therapist’s couch: a safe space in which to reflect on the tumultuous life events he has endured.
In 2018, he released his breakthrough album Care for Me. The vividly frank record addressed topics such as depression, anxiety and grief, while also serving as a eulogy for his cousin and fellow Pivot Gang member, John Walt, who was tragically murdered the year before. It’s a project that bared all, set to the raw sound of Chicago’s pioneering drill movement. For his latest project, Few Good Things, Saba takes a similarly open approach, tempering moments of vulnerable introspection with a playful levity. It’s no surprise, then, that he was so candid answering this month’s round of 20 Questions.
What’s your earliest childhood memory?
I remember my parents watching a horror film and me running to my grandparents’ room to get into bed with them. It was really dramatic – I made a huge deal about it and ran screaming. To this day I still don’t watch horror films.
Favourite non-musical hobby?
Definitely playing ball. We play pretty much every week and it’s one of the most important ways I spend my time – we all grew up playing ball and making music.
How would your friends describe you in three words?
Focused, introspective and either really funny or really serious, no in between.
What makes you feel nostalgic?
Music I grew up listening to – oldies my grandparents would play, 90s stuff from when I was a kid.
What oldies stuff did your grandparents play?
My grandma loves Luther Vandross, my grandad loves Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers.
If you could time travel, where would you go?
I would stay right where the hell I am.
What’s your biggest fear?
Small talk. Probably sounds crazy, but it gives me so much anxiety. I hate it.
Biggest pet peeve?
Also, small talk. “Lovely weather we’re having!” – shit like that.
What would you want written on your tombstone?
Something funny and lighthearted.
First thing you’d grab in a fire?
My phone… to call 911?
Who would be on your dream dinner party guest list?
Prince, Sade and Frank Ocean. They all seem like they don’t go to just anybody’s party, so it’d be the most exclusive event of all time.
Most famous person you’ve ever met?
You’re stranded on a deserted island. What three items do you bring?
A volleyball named Wilson, a machete maybe, and, idk, something to start a fire with.
Who’s inspiring you right now?
Pivot Gang. We’ve been keeping each other motivated and speaking to each other first thing in the morning, every day.
What’s the best party you’ve ever been to?
I don’t go to parties.
Do you have a hidden talent?
All of my talents are very public.
What’s the biggest realisation you’ve had in the past year?
Literally nothing matters, so I’ve just been doing whatever I want.
Who is your dream collaborator?
What is your favourite Sade track?
Love is Stronger Than Pride or Kiss of Life.
If you won the lottery right now, what would be your first purchase?
Probably something stupid like a big dumb ass chain or a super fast car. Yeah.
Few Good Things is out now via The Orchard Music