This album was released on February 5th this year. Saga Asad is an artist who I first became familiar with when he was featured on Rinpoche by Iceberg Theory. Aside from that, I haven’t heard any of his material, so I’m going into this kinda blind. However, I’m really looking forward to it because I think the album cover is awesome, and the project is entirely produced by August Fanon, who I’m a big fan of. It’s also just under half an hour, so it shouldn’t be too much of a task to get through if it somehow ends up being trash. I doubt that’ll be the case though. I think I’m gonna really dig it.
There aren’t any tracks that I don’t like on this album, so I’ll write about it in the full order of the track listing. It begins with the title track, New Man. This one is a highlight for me. I love August Fanon’s soulful, melodic production here, and Saga Asad killed it.
Jumpin' off the diving board, it's best you keep your knees tuckedOn the road of life there's speed bumpsI came from nothin'; well, not really nothin', but we ain't need muchAte sugar water and WIC cheese lunch
I feel like fans of Navy Blue will really dig Saga Asad’s work. The beat sounds like something Navy Blue would rap over. Every single line from Saga Asad had me hooked too. There’s really nothing that I don’t like about this song. It’s only a minute and 26 seconds long, so maybe it could’ve been longer, but that’s just an extreme nitpick. He killed this shit.
It's rough & tumble in my region, I'm spittin' factsI want my pound of flesh, I'm trimmin' fatChillin' where the killers and the Magilla gorillas atI got more heart than a silverback
I love how calm and relaxing this song sounds. It just feels like felicity in the form of music. I love it. The song is dope af to me. The following track, Nivel, is another highlight for me. The beat here sounds more like something MIKE would rhyme over. Saga Asad killed it too.
No nickel & dimeWhen the plate & nickel doin' the nineI'm perspiring from conspiringI'm firing when I'm hiringIn the belly of leviathinI'm so Trini, I might try a tingAre you marring what I'm admiring?This psilocybin is inspiring
Once again, the song is very short since there’s just one quick verse over this fairly straightforward loop. Everything’s just really well done though. I think the verse is awesome. The song is dope as hell to me. Track 3 is another exciting highlight entitled Grey Matter. I love the relatively upbeat production here, and the opening lines from Saga Asad are awesome.
I been good at rappingNow I'm taxin' anglo-saxons for my words and captions
I love that line so much. He killed his verse. The second verse is performed by an artist named Sidewalk Kal, who I don’t think I’d ever heard of before listening to this album. I really enjoyed his performance though. His voice kinda reminded me of A$ton Matthews. He doesn’t rap like him at all though.
Used to carry my troubles on my person like they luggageNowadays it's self mastery, manifestin' what I'm wantin'
His verse was great. Same goes for the final verse from Vic Spencer. By the way, I actually can’t believe I’ve never covered a Vic Spencer project on this blog before. His Psychological Cheat Sheet album is highly recommended though, so check that shit out when you get a chance. Anyway, he killed this shit. However, I do have on gripe with this song. The mixing on the vocals is super rough. Each MC’s voice is buried under the grimy beat, so it’s very difficult to make out a lot of what they’re saying. It’s very clearly an intentional artistic choice, so it’s not like they accidentally fucked the song up. I just would’ve preferred if it was easier to hear them. That’s a personal issue though. I think I have more of an issue with that kinda thing than most underground Hip Hop heads. It is what it is. I still think the song is really dope overall. It’s followed by Fleaz, which is another major highlight for me. The production here feels thicker and heavier than that of the preceding track. It kinda reminds me of Mick Jenkins‘ Spread Love, except less fluffy. Saga Asad’s rhyming feels relatively aggressive here too.
Can tell who fake by the smell of they skinTell who great by the state of they kinOnly one chance, I'm all inAll my eyes on endsI want a house with a BenzShare the rest of the prof' with my friendsWe all products of sin
The hook is pretty simplistic, but I think it works very well. The second verse is even better than the first one in my opinion.
Chillin' at the lion's gateYou can't fight fire with fateEven in dire straits please admire the spaceOn the road to acquiring tasteNiggas will lie in your faceTurn around and spit in your platePart of success is acquiring hateWe all products of the choices we makeSpittin' game without a rebateStuck between a hard place and a homeI'm like Sisyphus pushin' a stoneI watch my life move at the speed of my phone
He slaughtered this track. The following song is yet another major highlight entitled Loyalty. Once again, the production here is relatively hard-hitting. It’s not as smooth as the preceding track. It feels much more chaotic. There’s a bit more energy in Saga Asad’s delivery as well. I love the kind of arcane lyricism here.
Beyond my mind's eye, I can see the dark in the skyHe murdered this shit. The hook from A. Billi Free is pretty nice too. The Dragon Ball Z reference in the second verse was fire. Once I got to this track I knew I was really gonna struggle to choose a favorite song from this album. I think this track is dope af. The next one is entitled Rorschach. This one flips the same sample that was used in Like Woah by Logic. It probably goes without saying that I prefer this song, although I do like the Logic track as well. Anyway, the opening verse on this song is boiling hot fiya.
Took DMT, stopped puffin' the lye
'Cause I was livin' a lie, that's why I stopped givin' to guys
'Cause the hand you lend get trivialized
I done been vilified for steppin' aside
The lesson is "your best weapon is pride"
Gotta take it in stride
If you wanna succeed or survive
Honestly that's been the key to my drive
My girl asked me straight up do I really think I changedI told her, "as much as things change, shit just stay the same"I'm just tryna stay in my laneAnd picked the perfect choices for my future like I read them in the quatrainAs the time tick in the watch frameCritics try to decipher my lyrics like them shits was in the blockchain
The beat switches up after the hook, and I definitely like the second instrumental more. Not that the first one is bad. I think I was just more enthused by the second one since I wasn’t familiar with the sample. The closing verse is really nice too. Overall, the song is dope as hell. The next song is called Hues, and it’s one of the shortest tracks on the album. I really love how lighthearted the production here sounds. It sounds happy. Saga Asad of course killed the verse too.
Dudes runnin' wild, fear no one
Not Japanese, but they show gun
And let you hold sumn
I told the younger dudes "know sumn"
Go to school and get your educatin'
Learn when niggas frontin'
Niggas bluffin', and it's the same old song
It goes on and on and on and on and on
Again, the song is very short—it’s only about 80 seconds long—but I don’t mind the brevity since what’s here is so good. I love the beat, and Saga Asad’s rapping was top notch. The song is dope as hell. It’s followed by another highlight entitled Legerdemain. The beat kinda sounds more like something that Iceberg Theory would rap over, and the relatively esoteric lyricism from Saga Asad here is amazing.
Not to cause a riff, but I'm an urban mythThis is God's gift, control the block like Detlef SchrempfOn those cold roads I had to break the moldGettin' money was the goal, but I can't sell my soul
I love how the percussion comes in after this opening quatrain. The whole verse is fire. Once again, the song is very short; it’s under two minutes. I wouldn’t say it sounds incomplete or anything though. It’s an awesome track. I think it’s dope as hell personally. The following track, TEFNUT., is another highlight for me.
I love the heavenly production here. It sounds like I’m floating on a cloud. I feel like if Blu made an album called Above the Heavens this is what the beats would sound like. Once again, Saga Asad’s lyricism here is phenomenal.
You see me stuck in the matrixSometimes the pain, you can't face itThe forms is all shapelessAll the art was basicThe words is all flagrant and tastelessThey accusations baselessI was stuck in a spaceshipThrowin' signs like a mason
There are zero filler bars in this verse. Every single line is dope. The song is dope as hell. The penultimate track is called Earned, and it’s also fire. This track actually has one of my favorite beats on the album. Pretty much everything I said about Saga Asad’s rapping on the preceding song applies to his verse here. He murdered this joint.
On the road to the riches, don't forget your britchesFood for thought don't require dishes, only distanceAnd the balance of a gymnastThe spark of an incense
This is one of the longest tracks on the album, but the length doesn’t make it feel like it lasts forever. If anything it just sounds more grandiose than the other tracks. I love it. I even think this track has one of the best hooks on the album. The second verse on this song might be even better than the first one too.
Now it's me at my bestThe season successWas sewn in the keys in my fleshNever fail when I been put to the test
This is easily one of my favorite songs on the album, which is saying a lot since I’ve referred to pretty much every track as a highlight in this review. I’m guessing Saga Asad is of Trinidadian descent just like me since he references a lot of Trini stuff, including my favorite food of all time…
I'm eating bake & sharkWhile I play my partDiscuss the state of artPulling strings, I could tune a harpNever miss the markTake a shot in the darkIt still would show a sparkThey respect it when it's from the heart
I think it’s dope af. The closing track is yet another major highlight for me entitled Keep it real. I absolutely love the beat here. It sounds very happy to me. It sounds like that feeling when you’re moving on from something really painful.
Let's keep it realYou'll probably never get a dealBut that doesn't mean that you lack skillLet's keep it realYou worshippin' the dollar billYou gonna get short-changed for your cheap thrillsLet's keep it realPeople ain't gon' do what they say they willIf it ain't gon' help them pay they bills
It’s under two minutes, but I think it works really well as an outro. It’s a very pretty song, and I don’t really have any gripes with it. It’s dope af to me.