There's a gap between the golden age and today's Hip-Hop. It's unarguable, but on the same token, we contend that the south does a better job at staying true to their rap lineage. From true lyricism to straight game spitting -- from Outkast to Master P or Big K.R.I.T. to Young Thug -- the south's top tier talent always had this dichotomy. Somewhere in between, we find Isaiah Rashad, a Chattanooga, Tenn. native with a thoughtful point of view and a commercial appeal. He also just happened to be drafted by Hip-Hop's hottest collective, Top Dawg Entertainment.
Prior to joining the West Coast-based label, Rashad hadn't created a full-length project. There were just clusters of songs for the Internets' enjoyment. Yet, he was able to capture the southern aesthetic and introduce a distinct sound without creating a dated body of work on his debut EP, Cilvia Demo.
There's no country for lackluster talent in TDE, so Rashad's lyrical prowess goes without saying. His allure reaches far past his natural way with words, though. Simply put, the southerner's common man appeal is his X-factor, one that gives his music a warmth that invites listeners into his world. Earnest attempts at crooning, distorted vocals and well placed ad-libs play into the way Cilvia Demo sounds more than listeners realize.
Surely this can't be the kid's first full-length creation, right? One would think this was true, but since it isn't, we'd say a line from Rashad's track, "Banana," perfectly describes him: "Just wait till I get this sh*t perfect."
Hip-Hop Wired recently picked the rising MC's brain to see where his head was at. Peep more about Isaiah Rashad, our latest Certified Fresh feature, below.
Who: Isaiah Rashad, 22, hails from Chattanooga, Tenn. He's seen what the streets are like, but was never an active participant in that life. Instead, the MC bounced from job to job after dropping out of school, awhile dreaming of doing music professionally. In the process, he had a son, which greatly affected him, because his own father left his family when he was just three-years old. That drive inspired the young wordsmith's music moving forward, and by luck of the draw and some music industry connections, Rashad made friendly with TDE. As the saying goes, the rest was history.
Credentials: Prior to the Cilvia Demo EP, Isaiah Rashad hadn't produced a single full-length project. Outside of some loose tracks, which garnered minimal YouTube and Soundcloud views by today's standards, he had nothing. However, he was still on record label's radars off of raw talent alone. He's a self-proclaimed Erykah Badu stan, and that soulful influence can be heard in his production choice, cadence, and topic matter.
Fun Fact: Isaiah Rashad spent a week in jail for marijuana possession. He only had a roach (the very end of a joint), and was arrested as he was pulling up to his home in Chattanooga.
Photo: Justin Hogan, YouTube