With the release of “If We” and “What You Want,” the first two singles off his forthcoming full-length debut From Out of the Shadows, up-and-coming Brooklyn-based emcee Saga has begun to win the attention of the blogosphere for a thoughtful and sincerely emotional brand of hip-hop rooted in his belief that there’s no real division between commercial and underground hip-hop, only what’s real, and that his music and the ideas that he conveys through his music resonate with the listener, a complex human being; in other words, there’s the implicit recognition that although you might be out there grinding and hustling that you can simultaneously be a conscious, responsible and thoughtful person.
Just a few days before the Brooklyn-based emcee will be embarking on a European tour opening for Asher Roth, Saga released “Up,” the third and latest single off From Out of the Shadows and the single, which was produced by renowned French producer and turntablist 20syl, a four-time DMC World DJ Champion as a member of C2C. 20syl’s production is a warm, jazzy and soulful J. Dilla/Midnight Marauders-era A Tribe Called Quest channeling song that pairs shimming Rhodes keys, wobbling bass, electronic bleeps and bloops and enormous boom bap beats in a collaboration that features the Brooklyn-based emcee teaming up with Los Angeles-based emcee Blu. Lyrically, the song’s narrators are toasting the hard work and dedication that have put them on the path to enjoy the good life. And of course that means leaving lives of desperation and struggle behind, and leaving haters and others to jealously eat your dust.
It’s a breezily upbeat, feel-good anthem that I would expect to hear at someone’s barbecue or rooftop party — but it has a profound and universal message that will resonate deeply with anyone, who’s out there hustling hard and trying to achieve their dreams.