At 20 years old Saba as already proven he knows how to consistently release high-quality music and elevate the quality of music each release. Every music critic nowadays wants to compare up-and-coming artists to established artists to give the listeners a better understanding of what they will be getting themselves into by listening to the artist. I hate that philosophy. I have heard people compare Saba to Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper, I couldn’t disagree more. Those comparisons only exist because Saba is one of the few rappers of this generation not talking about the glamorized ambitions of a gangster. Comfort Zone begins with “TimeZone” where Saba appropriately says “since a shorty I been showing how I’m different” in the intro.
Saba has shown his ability to harmonize and use his voice in very unique ways in previous projects but on this project he really mastered how jump between flows, harmonies, and tones in a very natural way. I’m sure he had to punch in during the recording process occasionally to pull this off but the sound is just so smooth, it is damn-near impossible to tell. The flow he uses on “Butter” is just one example of how unique is sound is. He rides that beat in such a precise manner but he finds a way to jump back-and-forth from practically singing to abrasively rapping. I have always admired how he can be so aggressive on such smooth beats.
Saba definitely stepped up his song-making abilities for Comfort Zone. My favorite songs on the project are probably “401K”, “Whip (Areyoudown?)”, and “Scum” because the messages attached are so powerful and you can feel the passion in Saba’s voice and in the production.
These songs are also very relatable is many ways, “Whip (Areyoudown?)” is relatable to anyone who has been 17 and suffered from anxiety of wanting the freedom of your own car. “401K” is relatable to students — especially from lower class communities — who are aggravated from busting their asses in school when they could probably make more money hustling on the streets. “Scum” should be an anthem for Chicago kids, all we here about Chicago in the news is what these Chicago kids are doing to themselves but no one is talking about the powers-that-be who set these kids up to fail by closing down the schools and completely demolishing the communities.
Saba was also able to tap into his storytelling ability on this project with the track “Marbles” which is basically an ode to his mom’s boyfriend and the role he played in Saba’s early life. This project shows the maturation of Saba since Get Comfortable and it also gives listeners insight on where Saba’s potential can take him in the future.
I cannot recommend this album enough, I just loved it. I have been listening to it regularly since it dropped mid-July. If you love lyricism, production, and hip-hop in general, you will love this project. Guaranteed.