[The young Chicago rapper and producer Saba recently sat down with hip-hop personality and SOHH correspondent Shawn Setaro on his popular “The Cipher” podcast. Listen to the full interview and check out five gems he dropped during the Q&A. Above Photo Credit Tom Vin]

On growing up in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood:

“I was a nerd. I’ve been a nerd my whole life. And I’m from one of the most violent areas in Chicago. All of my friends from childhood, I just walked clean past them, and all of them have been taken over by the city.”

On his need to speak for his home area of Chicago’s West Side:

“Nobody was speaking positively – or even negatively – about the West Side For me, being from the West Side meant trying to speak up or do something about that in any way that I could.”

On creating his new album, Bucket List Project in the aftermath of the death of his uncle:

“When I was working on Bucket List, it was initially me trying to find the positive. I know it’s there somewhere – where is it?”

On his 2014 project Get COMFORTable:

“I was 18. What else is there to rap about other than rapping better than everybody else?”

On how the Chicago rap scene knew that Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap was going to be a huge success before it was release:

“When Acid Rap was coming, everybody in the city was talking about it. Everybody knew about it. The fanbase even that young, we all are aware of how big it has the potential to be. When we were at YOUmedia, it felt like we were looking at [his current stardom].”