Saba, Legit, Noname Gypsy All Ages Recommended Soundboard Image

When: Sat., July 26, 7 p.m. 2014

West-side rapper and producer Tahj “Saba” Chandler says he used to be a shy kid, and his brand-new mixtape, Comfort Zone, sounds like the product of years of quiet contemplation. Chandler explores stoops and parks in Chicago, gets lost in his own thoughts, and ruminates about the lives of crack addicts, fellow teenagers, inmates, and others; on “401K” he digs into the desperation that makes bright, promising kids like him reach for guns, and his increasingly aggressive rapping parallels their growing anxiety and dread. Even during one of Chandler’s rare combustible streaks, he sounds approachable—he’s got a warm, grainy voice and a liquid, easygoing flow, which make him seem friendly and down-to-earth. Because he tends to put you at ease, it’s easy to get sucked into his immersive, detailed lyrics—when he raps about loitering on State Street on “Welcome Home,” I can picture him pretending to mess with tourists in brand-new Blackhawks jerseys. The production on Comfort Zone relies on the sweet sounds of Chicago soul, which dovetail with the thoughtful sense of place in Chandler’s rhymes; I’ve had the supersmooth “Butter” in heavy rotation since Billboard premiered it in early June. —Leor Galil

Price: $10, $7 in advance

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