Favourites: Park, Bday, Stuck in the Mud, Dressed Like Rappers, Wats Wrong, Tity and Dolla
Isaiah Rashad is one of the newer members of TDE (Kendrick, Schoolboy, Jay Rock, SZA, etc.) and has slowly been carving his way into the scene with his debut EP “Cilvia Demo”, which is easily one of my favourite projects to come out of Top Dawg Ent. He’s had a couple popular singles, such as “Shot You Down” featuring Jay Rock and Q, but for the most part Isaiah’s kept it pretty low-key, mainly because he doesn’t exactly have that Mainstream hip-hop sound. For me, what really stands out in Isaiah’s music is his Cadence, his delivery and flow when rapping, it’s incredibly unique, and you notice it immediately on Cilvia Demo when “Webbie Flow” hits. His southern lyrical content, mixed with trip-hop production is present in most of the songs on Cilvia, as he talks about substance abuse, police brutality, and growing up (he was 23 when he made this project).
In his long-awaited return “The Sun’s Tirade” Schoolboy Q introduces the album on a skit, asking what everyone else has been asking “Where you been? Where’s the new music?”. followed by “4r Da Squaw” which is a song about being content with financial situations in your life, getting by and not worrying about bills and money in general. The first half of this album (ending at Bday) are uptempo, flow focused, and incredibly catchy. You got “Free Lunch” which was the first single off the project accompanied with a great music video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJksTRgY8-c), “Wats Wrong” which feels almost like a rap battle between Isaiah and Kendrick Lamar, you can tell that Isaiah wanted to step up his delivery knowing that Kendrick was going to kill that second verse, and Isaiah definitely matches Kendrick’s skill on this song, the chorus was pretty cookie cutter, but it did the job. “Park” follows up “Wats Wrong”, and is probably my favourite song on the album. It shows a different side to Isaiah, on this song he shows his confidence and aggression more-so than any song he’s ever made to date. The ending of this song’s delivery reminds me of the ending of Kendrick’s “U” where the emotion of the words are being personified in the cadence of his voice very dramatically. Then when “Bday” hits, the album turns into this mumbly, drugged out type of sound where it seems like Isaiah wanted to tone down the album and focus more on the vibe of the songs rather than the lyrical content. In my opinion, he does this mumbly rapping a lot better than the mumble king Future… which isn’t too hard to do, if you can talk about more than Lean and Xany’s. I wasn’t a big fan of Silk Da Shocka, Brenda, and Don’t Matter, they seemed to be fillers on this album, nothing really stood out on these songs, where as songs like Stuck in the Mud and Tity and Dolla really tied the album’s concept together. So this album really catches your attention from the get-go with a bombardment of up-tempo, catchy flows, and then puts you in a couch lock state with the stonerific flows in songs like A lot, where he literally just mumbles nonsense near the end of the song, it makes sense though, because he’s playing with his voice as if he was on all the drugs that he was abusing on that song.
This album has been on constant repeat, and is one of my top 5 hip hop albums of 2016. I feel that Cilvia Demo was a more cohesive/put together project, but this album showcases a lot of Isaiah’s incredibly unique flows and ideas, that you can’t get from any other artist.