Meet Saba, The Chicago Rapper Who Blessed Chance The Rapper’s New Single

If you’re not already familiar with Chano’s nimble-tongued “Angels” collaborator, now is your chance.

October 27, 2015

Last night on The Late Show, Chance the Rapper debuted a new solo track, "Angels." Despite earlier rumors, Chano was joined not by Stephen Colbert but by the very smiley Saba. Regular readers of The FADER might already be well acquainted with the nimble-tongued Westside Chicago rapper, but for those who are less familiar, here is what you really need to know.


Saba started young.

Born into a musical family—that's his dad above—Saba got into music at a young age. He began playing piano before he turned ten, was handing out mixtapes in his high school hallways, and was performing for crowds at YouMedia and YCA open mic nights before he turned 18.

Chance and Saba met at open mic nights when they were teenagers.

Like so many of Chance's collaborators, Chance and Saba came to know each other through Chicago's rich open mic scene. They spent countless after-school hours honing their tongues, and it was a surprised to nobody when one by one their friends started to pop. "When Chance started blowing up a few years ago, none of us were surprised," he told The FADER during a recent visit. "When Vic Mensa did what he did, none of us were surprised. I'm doing what I'm doing, nobody's surprised. We all knew that shit would happen."

Saba was a featured guest on Acid Rap.

Saba's first big look was his turn on "Everybody's Something," a track off Chance's 2013 breakout mixtape Acid Rap.

He released his debut solo mixtape, ComfortZone, the next year.

Saba quietly dropped a solid debut ComfortZone in 2014, landing himself on the national radar once again. And in typical Chicago style, the 14-song project's tracklist features Jamila, Eryn Allen Kane, MC Tree, as well as a number of other Chicago locals.

He was also amongst the many contributors to Surf.

Saba was one of the 50-something collaborators featured on Chance and the Social Experiment's free album Surf. Hear him on "SmthnThtIWant" above.

In addition to Chance, Saba's been cosigned by a number of other Chicago artists.

Saba has connected with Mick Jenkins at least a couple of times—"Heaux," "Slumber"—as well as with former The FADER cover star Tink for "Temporary." Chicago strong!

Saba makes beats, too.

Saba released a full instrumental project, an EP titled SpareChange, last month. "I’ve been saying I was gonna drop a beat tape for some time now, but I didn’t want them to just sound like the instrumental versions of my own songs, I wanted them to work as songs on their own," he told The FADER at the time. "There is still a lot to learn and a lot more sounds to expand on, but I’m pretty happy with the way the project turned out. I hope people enjoy something a little different from me."

He's making friends in high places.


A photo posted by SABA (@sabapivot) on

At the Leaders of the New Cool event during CMJ in N.Y., Saba won over a new fan: Andre 3000.

Saba has more on the way.

SpareChange is Saba's last project of the year, but he has a new video near on the horizon and he has promised more music in the new year. Till then, you can revisit more of his past work on his SoundCloud.

Meet Saba, The Chicago Rapper Who Blessed Chance The Rapper’s New Single