What Would Julian Rafael Hassan Roden Do?


"Bucket List Project" LP Review [@sabaPIVOT]

This is the concept album done right, if you want the cut & dry, but for the nitty gritty please proceed reading the full review. Saba is in a different class of recording Artist. It's probably everyday a rapper adds skits or snippets from calls to an album to give it an appeal aside from the music and often it ends up detracting from the overall experience. In the case of Saba's latest effort it's the exact opposite. Having a bucket list is paramount to stepping out of your comfort zone and I'm so glad that's the direction he's chosen this go round. Hailing from Chicago you might think about death a bit more than the average joe, so why not refocus that stream of consciousness to what you wanna do before then? "What would you wanna do before you die?" the album eloquently forces you to ask yourself.

To describe it sonically, Bucket List Project is a melodic Jazz laden infusion of the old and new trends in Hip-Hop. Hooks galore, tight rhymes with great punch lines and entendres are spaced throughout the album. I should also mention a bulk of it is self produced alongside the other Executive Producer Phoelix. Quite the feat if I do say so myself. This hands on approach ensures you have a pleasurable listening experience as he applies his rapping expertise on beats he himself helped create. It's a growing trend among rappers and I hope to see it continue. Cut out the middle men and save money on production all the while having it sound better because you crafted it specifically for yourself. That's a win win if I've ever heard of one.

There's a humorous element to all the bucket lists and an easter egg quality to the one's who deliver them if you know of Saba's Pivot Gang and Save Money affiliates. The humor lasts just long enough before becoming corny or obnoxious and I think that's because they're all genuine. That humor is needed because there are some more drab tones expressed in Saba's storytelling on certain tracks. I gotta say my favorite of them all is "American Hypnosis" featuring Akenya which samples Soul II Soul's "Back To Life" effortlessly while adding a modern day update to the lyrics. Very Kendrick Lamary of Saba.

Saba shows lots of love to Chicago Artist on "Bucket List Project" from OGs like Twista to songstresses like Noname ("Telefone" review here) and Jean Deaux to newly buzzing rappers like Smino (a St. Louis transplant) and LEGIT. Way to keep it Chi and not be trendy and clout chasing. He sought out voices of collaborators that would compliment/progress his sound, not gain popularity from. This shit is organic. 

Not only is it organic, but this young brother has got his shit together and you can tell if you check out his website sabapivot.com. You can find his music across streaming platforms, buy some minimalistic merch, check his tour schedule, contact him and follow him across his social media. This is not done enough by people who consider themselves professional musicians and Artist so I had to throw my kudos in here for that. It's 2016, be like Saba creatives. Get a domain and upload your portfolio and replace your Tumblr blog from the website entry field in your bios on Twitter and Instagram.

And with all that being said I'll leave you with my Bucket List inspired by Saba.

  1. GQ cover shoot
  2. Collab and then subsequently become bestfriends with KiD CuDi 
  3. Marry Rihanna
  4. Produce all my movie scripts
  5. Start an Art School/Foundation
  6. Own a Ferrari F-40 and a loft in NY
  7. Become a household name like Jesus or McDonald's
  8. Invent something you didn't know you needed and change the world with it
  9. Become President of the United States
  10. Plant a seed in my wife (See #3)


Julian Roden