Photo by Heather Kaplan
Things have changed quite a bit for young Chicago rapper Saba since he dropped his Bucket List Project mixtape last fall. He’s toured North America and secured spots at festivals like Day N Night, All Things Go Fall Classic, and Summerfest. It hasn’t all been positive though; he also lost his cousin and fellow PIVOT crew member John Walt, a.k.a. DinnerWithJohn, when he was stabbed back in February. As tragic as the event was, Saba’s latest song, “There You Go”, is built around the kind of hope and perseverance that Chicago rap has become synonymous with in recent years.
“I Petey Pablo my block though/ I raise it up like it raised me,” Saba raps on the soulful track, produced by Saba alongside Oakland-based multi-instrumentalist Daoud. Take a listen below.
Saba isn’t just rapping through Walt’s death, either. He recently announced John Walt Day, a benefit concert set for November 25th at House of Blues in Chicago. The event will mark the launch of the John Walt Foundation, an organization run by Saba and his mother, Nachelle Pugh, that seeks to provide funds for Chicago youth who are actively participating in the arts.
“We’re gonna have them send applications, and video or audio of them showcasing their art,” Saba told the Chicago Tribune. “The plan is to pick five kids each year and sponsor each toward their art. We want to make it open to different fields, so maybe a rapper or two, a dancer or two, a singer or something, and just put them in places where they can make things happen.”