sarob. first made an appearance on the DopeHouse when he debuted the first and last song, “Annex/Taxes,” of this newly released project, the down. He followed up with the video for the album’s third track, “Serenity,” before releasing the project in full today. Lasting 10 songs, the down. comes in at just under 30 minutes long leaving room for four bonus tracks as well. Seven relatively unknown producers helped curate the sounds underneath sarob.’s lyrics of self-discovery, relationships and growing up.
A Dayton, Ohio, native, sarob. spends most of his higher education at Denison University near his hometown. But the emcee spent a semester at the University of Oxford when developing his new album. He told me through email that attending the prestigious university help put him in a super academic mindset. “I wrote it out like an essay—the transitions between songs are even played out like you’re turning to new chapters in a book,” he said.
sarob. later touched on how the culture at Oxford influenced him and how race relations in America differed at a university in England, for him. He said the culture made him “unafraid” to challenge himself, and he also shared a story comparing the culture overseas and in America:
“I got to see the dynamics in race relations here (England) vs. in America. It’s still not great in England, specifically in the minority communities in London, but I never felt like there were political, institutional structures holding me back. & I was never made to feel like I was a lesser person—less intelligent, less capable. However, as soon as I got back to America, my mom and I had an encounter with a guy at a hotel who was incredibly disrespectful & tried to condescend to us…like we were lesser people. little did he know I just earned all top marks at 1 of the most prestigious schools in the world.”
Stream the down. below, and download the album on Bandcamp.