For a while, I was almost certain Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) would end up dropping the young hip hop wizard known as Isaiah Rashad after month after month of release setback. As some of the story goes, all the taboo things a successful young adult might get into were more than just thoughts.
A wild 90’s child, Rashad has been known to spend time with lady Xanax, or I suppose more appropriately, the several of the sisters of Lucy. Luckily, not only is the Chattanooga native aware of the worlds concerns over his party life, he's embraced it to combat the harsher sides of the coin, or at least that's what this strong entry in the TDE annals suggests.
The theme behind the incredible and long awaited The Sun's Tirade revolves around the struggle behind all of Isaiah's tribulations both in and out of the music world through funny skits, searing beats, and a style set sure to impress a range of hip hop lovers. Isaiah intentionally sought to bring several different rhyme styles to the album to challenge himself in a way few artists do, at least when it comes to the content of a single record.
The album opens with one of many calls from TDE Label Pres (and Kendrick Lamar manager) Dave Free upset about how long the album is taking, which Rashad responds to on this record in kind. Fair warning though, this album knocks, so its worth a listen on a quality pair of speakers\headphones for the bass lovers.
On the topic of bass, solid bass lines always get me (of course), and such is the case on the 4th track, Rope // rosegold. Knowing the production was done by Compton's own SiR, I had fulfilled hopes for this instrumental. Even better, the two part track system is applied thick for the funk of the rosegold half.
Park might have the catchiest cadence of the year on board, with sunny daytime pianos sprinkled on top:
Family time and the video for 4r Da Squaw takes place on one of the best places on Earth; the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles:
The most laid back track sits with Stuck in the Mud and features TDE songstress SZA. Lately though, she's ironically been in recent arguments with the heads of TDE. I'm hoping they smooth out their current beef and give SZA's album the proper treatment. Best I can guess, the song speaks on personal experiences of cruising through the streets, being clawed at by his vices. Daily life and the mire seem to be one in the same.
The chorus opens up to a broader audience, and made me think of Los Angeles; masses of the youth seemingly zombified by the fear of what their future holds. The distractions are beautiful, but dangerous if you don't watch your tail in the traps of the city's various categories of nightlife.
At about 3:30, you hear Isaiah chomp down on a pill before moments of silence. The mantra "Pop a xanny, make your problems go away..." drones on when the second half of the song starts and the beat changes. Floating above the clouds, we run through the thoughts of Isaiah on the abstract nature of love, horror stories from his past, and the frustration when even family is caught up in drama.
Overall, Wat's Wrong is the song I keep coming back to for a host of reasons. The production was done by D. Sanders and Al B Smoove, sampling Stanley Cowell's 1977 song Here I Am. Isaiah is the last rapper in the TDE family to have the titan Kendrick Lamar feature on their album. Thankfully, Kendrick took the oppourtunity to drop one of my favorite verses from him in a long while, if not overall.
Isaiah's first verse spits off short rounds thought process ammunition on the chaos in his life. To the best of his abilities, he wants to steer clear and focus on the grind to the mountaintop. He admits his flaws throughout this record, but the diversity of delivery in two verses wrapped around Kendrick Lamar's solidified my appreciation of Isaiah's skill and versatility. The second verse drones and rides the wave of the instrumentals, while TDE crooner Zacari sings the chorus on (literal) cloud nine to escape his woes.
I'm curious to hear what die hard fans at the live shows have to say. There aren't any tour dates planned outside of one at the Echoplex in Los Angeles in mid November, but keep your eye peeled, and sail into the fall with Rashad and his TDE family.
Until next time my friends.