SAZE is a New Jersey-born, Brooklyn-based indie alternative hip-hop producer and recording artist. Content is king, and while some major label giants can release music every few years and survive, underground artists thrive on staying relevant—via album releases, mix-tapes, singles, constant touring, etc. SAZE is no stranger to the game, and on “Glass Bullet”, his newest solo release, the artist continues to be an advanced story teller. Checking his catalog, he’s had a steady output of releases that convey equal facets of his humanity, creativity, and his ability as an emcee. He’s come out with braggadocio rhymes and weaved narrative tales that are relatable without being contrived. His latest effort, mostly epitomizes the latter. Also, this is an actual solo album from SAZE, in every sense. It doesn’t follow any tried and true formula of any one emcee or producer…except himself.
Another peculiarity of his craft, is that SAZE sings almost as much as he raps, so he perfectly blends the two skills. This also allows him to evade genre boundaries and constrictions. He comes through on “Glass Bullet” with a clean sounding album that is ambitious beat-wise.
And at the same time maintains a creative rhyme style, while making sure you don’t miss anything he’s laying down. If you’re looking for punchlines and multis, you’ll find that too, however SAZE’s forte is weaving his way through technically, liberal rap construction.
Where he also tends to shine is topic wise – here he constantly comes across as heartfelt, with somewhat conscious-type raps – and his transition to singing, where he introduces some sleek, complex vocal arrangements.
For a rapper that for all intents and purposes is not mainstream, SAZE appropriately marries his topic-oriented, straight from the guts lyrics, with some advanced rhyme schemes and musical styles. You get an off the cuff glimpse of this, directly from the opening track, “It Makes Me Me”. Bathed in strumming acoustic guitars, SAZE’s reverbed voice echoes endlessly in the mind of listeners.
I can only really call the beats on this album eclectic, as SAZE switches between diverse tones and moods. The beats dark and cinematic on “I Won’t Lie” and “Proof”, he shows himself to be a true underground phenomenon, a heartfelt lyricist and master wordsmith. “Got Up to Get Up” forges a booming 808 sound, as SAZE once again brings his unerring pinpoint flow to the fore.
He drops a lot of gems on this track, so keep your attention focused. Always testing the limits of what creative ideas he can manifest, SAZE takes yet another left turn on “Try”, with an intense and escalating rhyme scheme, followed by a harmony filled hook, confirming that he is one of the most innovative artists in the underground industry.
“Camera Shy” ft. Brett Miller, brings back the strumming guitars, adding a whole new emotional dimension to SAZE’s music. The honey-dripping R&B melody does the rest to capture your attention. “Fuck Me Up” is layered in dreamy, mesmerizing layers of hypnotic sound, as SAZE brings some explicitness to the table.
Besides the powerful storytelling and strong poetic imagery, SAZE can get abrasively candid, cutting tight down to the core. Which is what he does from the opening lines on “3086” ft. Anumerica: “I don’t respect your white Jesus. Transmission from the future saying you gonna need us. Put some respect on black features…”
By the time I press play on the final two tracks, “Shaky Shaky” ft. Leah V and the extremely catchy “News Man” ft. Aya Aziz, it’s clear that the one thing that immediately drew me to SAZE is how diverse his subject matter is. There is a track for everybody on this album, probably several tracks for everybody.
SAZE is just a guy who is easy to relate to, and his music, for however alternative it may sound like at times, reflects that. You’d be a fool to miss this shamefully underrated indie artist showcasing a lyrical, vocal and musical ability that is sure to warm your heart, and open your mind.