Review: Why “Bucket List Project” by Saba is a must listen

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Bella Lehmann

Chicago-native Saba’s second album, “Bucket List Project,” while released in late 2016, combines aspects of unique music that we hear today, additionally showcasing a different side of hip hop music. The album stands out with its different beats and sound, along with collaborations from numerous artists, all while containing underlying themes of social issues.

Throughout the album, a variety of artists were showcased. The thirteen tracks, coming in at 49 minutes, highlight many musicians, also from Chicago, that are lesser-known in the music industry. Some musicians featured include Noname, Twista, and Jean Deaux. Saba uses his unique voice to boost and complement the other artists involved. 

Each artist completes their featured song by saying what is on their bucket list. Some are more serious, like Jean Deaux, who wants to “degentrify [his] neighborhoods, like buy property and rent it back to the people who grew up there.” Others, like Will Fountain, want to get some In-and-Out (hamburgers) because he lives far away from where they are sold. These ending statements about bucket lists help tie the album together and create a flow throughout.  

In addition to catchy lyrics and beats, many of the songs in the album reveal personal accounts of youth violence, police brutality, and addiction that Saba and his friends went through growing up. In “Westside Bound 3,” Saba mentions that he is “…from the part of the city that they don’t be talkin’ about.” As a child, Saba saw many of his friends killed by each other and at the hands of the police. In “Photosynthesis,” he talks about how kids in his area of town keep dying and how it has become more commonplace. 

Many of Saba’s lyrics include plays on words, like in the song “World in My Hands,” where he says, “I can’t hold it, I feel all of it. The police targeted, like I’m shopping.'” Saba references police targeting Black people while also referencing the store Target. The album continues with many other poetic devices, giving many lyrics multiple meanings that make you think about what you are listening to. 

I would compare “Bucket List Project” to an album like “Saturation” by BROCKHAMPTON. Both albums incorporate softer background music, with rapping in the forefront. They have similar flows and methods of conveying messages that make them sound similar. While I find that both albums are equally enjoyable, I tend to enjoy Saba’s more as the lyrics resonate with me more. 

Overall, I would recommend this album to anyone who wants to hear a fresh take on rap music. With deep meanings and meaningful underlying themes throughout, Saba makes this album a must-listen.

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