Cilvia Demo (Top Dawg Entertainment)
The opening track on Isaiah Rashad’s latest mixtape clocks in at just one and a half minutes but still lays the groundwork for the entire EP by sharing lessons Rashad learned – and hasn’t been able to entirely unlearn – from his father. In the single verse, Rashad explains: “My daddy taught me how to drink my pain away, my daddy taught me how to leave somebody.” The following 13 tracks unapologetically reflect on where the 22-year-old is today.
Like TDE labelmate Kendrick Lamar’s, Rashad’s distinctive voice and raw, heartfelt rhymes hit hard. Even if they’re generally delivered with an easier flow and more laid-back vibe, sharp production and catchy hooks increase each track’s impact.
Standout tune Soliloquy, featuring Rashad’s lyrical prowess and rapid-fire delivery over an ominous piano loop, proves why everyone is right to be so damn excited about the Chattanooga, Tennessee, native.
With room to grow as he collects more life experience, Rashad is one to watch. And if he plans on “finessing like [he’s] Timmy Duncan,” he’s aiming for longevity.
Top track: Soliloquy
Isaiah Rashad plays Tattoo with Tre Mission February 27.