With his new single “Where Ideas Sing,” Chicago-based rapper Saba glows with inspiring anecdotes and hometown pride. The release follows his quip-filled remix of Jamila Woods’ “Emerald Street” last month. “Where Ideas Sing” kicks in with a soft boom-clap beat, energized by Saba’s vocal embellishments. “I chill like a villain would,” he playfully begins his verse. A faint piano joins the light backing track, perfectly highlighting Saba’s lyrical agility, thickening as he hits his flow.
On “Where Ideas Sing,” Saba’s references are swift: “Listening to Lupe” (citing Chicago royalty and Saba-influence Lupe Fiasco); “Bean beam when the sun out” (invoking the iconic Chicago Cloud Gate); “I Bojack / came through on a horse man” (referencing what I hope is a favorite TV show of his, Bojack Horseman). While the rhymes and allusions are quick, Saba paints a vivid picture of his past and Chicago’s vibrant art scene. “Art scene like a renaissance,” he praises the talent around him, recalling open mics every Tuesday where he and many of his peers started out. “Young pioneers and my peers and the poets/ We bringing it back home right where it started,” Saba weaves the past into the present, using Chicago as a unifying stage. “Spoke out for the dream / Instead of biting my tongue/ That’s how I let my ideas sing but now it’s your turn,” Saba leaves no room for misinterpretation. This is a call-for-action, an expression of faith in young artists, and an ode to the city that made him. Listen below.