By: Alex Bloom
CARE FOR ME by Saba
Intimate. Moving. Graceful. These are three words that come to mind instantly after listening to Saba’s 2018 album, CARE FOR ME. One of the first things I noticed was how the production throughout this album is infused with a sense of melancholy that fills every word of every verse with unbidden emotion. And that is exactly what this album is intended to do: unlock those emotions that we would rather not think about most of the time. In an interview with Sway in The Morning, Saba described CARE FOR ME as “an emotional rap album” that documents the “lowest point” of his life.
This album exudes honesty, and tracks like “FIGHTER” and “PROM / KING” come across more like stories than songs. CARE FOR ME is aptly named in that it is an album that demands your full attention. While, of course, there are standout tracks that work well on their own, such as “BUSY / SIRENS” and “LIFE,” the album is a musical journey that is best listened to from start to finish.
Anyone who thinks that all rap music is juvenile, or that rap somehow isn’t poetic, surely hasn’t heard of Saba. One constant of this album is his ability to capture human emotion — ranging from the angst of day-to-day life, societal expectations, and dealing with tragedies like the death of a loved one — in an eloquent but digestible fashion. CARE FOR ME is a masterpiece that reflects real life, and it is clear throughout that Saba is an artist who isn’t afraid to be vulnerable.
Planet Bando by So Loki
If anyone still thinks Vancouver doesn’t have an interesting music scene, they probably haven’t heard of So Loki (Sam Lucia and Geoffrey Millar). These two local artists should be on the radar of any fan of hip-hop. On first listen, Planet Bando stands out from So Loki’s past work (such as their collaboration with bbno$ — Whatever) due to its intensity. The opening track “One” starts off the EP with energetic rap verses from Lucia and powerful, layered production from Millar.m
Throughout the six-track EP, So Loki maintains the energy from “One” and continues on from there without slowing down. Planet Bando is the perfect addition to any turn-up playlist and will have you moving your feet instantly, clearly encouraged by lines like “Everybody shake that ass / If you not, then you better make room for the dancers” on “Spensive.”
Planet Bando may come across as more serious than Whatever, but it somehow manages to remain just as fun. “Elephant Man” is an instant ear-worm, and “No Regrets” ends the EP on a jubilant note. My only real criticism is how short the EP is, totaling just about 14 minutes. While I will miss opening lyrics like “Bob Ross flow” from Whatever, it’s clear So Loki haven’t lost their “Swagu.”
Bonus Single: “Wave (feat. AstroLogical)” by Kapok — Single
While this track isn’t brand new, Kapok is a Vancouver based Mayan-Canadian rapper who you need to know about if you love hip-hop. “Wave” is an upbeat song that is sure to brighten even the greyest Vancouver day. Kapok delivers masterful flow and nuanced lyricism while maintaining an overall sense of fun and levity that makes “Wave” infinitely replayable. He was also recently named one of Rudegang Entertainment’s top five Vancouver Hip Hop artists of 2018, so be ready for more great artistry from him this year.