For a young rapper, there must be so much going against you. From people close to you trying to invalidate your dream, to the competition you’re going up against, all the way to the music industry and its shady dealings. Ultimately, the world is against you.
However, there are ways to break the mold and emerge. That is exactly what rising Chattanooga, Tennessee hip-hop artist Isaiah Rashad is proving possible.
Critics of the culture will always say the same things: “rap is just noise,” “they’re always talking about money, clothes, and women,” “there’s no substance in their lyrics.”
I’d like these same critics to listen to Rashad’s latest album, The Sun’s Tirade. Through painstaking personal and professional tribulations, Rashad delivers a superb, forward-thinking and impactful collection of songs. Songs that tantalize and entice the soul, and songs that have rightfully allowed Rashad to emerge from his dust cloud as a star in the making.
In fact, Rashad delayed the release of this album, and the subsequent tour, because of an addiction to prescription drugs, Xanax being one of them. He was consuming alcohol and drugs on such a massive level that he tore his stomach lining, and almost died three separate times. However, with help from his label TDE, home to Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q, he is clean and ready to conquer the world.
For Rashad’s first tour date of his Lil Sunny Tour, he found himself in an insanely packed Granada Theatre in Lawrence, Kansas. In fact, he said on stage that he was expecting to sell only 200 tickets, when ultimately, he sold the place out and depleted the venue of all 1000 of its tickets.
Rashad’s star power is instantaneously felt when he takes the stage. His croon, his style, his swagger, is effortless. His passion he wore on his sleeve, and his pleasure to deliver his latest songs to an eager crowd was infectious. In fact, I considered myself lucky for getting to see this young rapper before he blows up like C-4.
Songs from the new album were met with such positive reception and it was apparent that these fans must have been bumping this album from the day it dropped to the minute he came out on stage. Songs like “4 Da Squaw” and “Free Lunch” boomed and billowed out of the speakers and every fan’s mouth.
Other tracks like “Tity and Dolla” were so hype and had everybody jumping up and down. The funny thing is, on the album, most of these songs sound relatively lowkey. Rashad’s voice is relative chill and never really raises to a yell. It was us, the crowd, that shouted every word to songs like “RIP Kevin Miller” off his exceptional debut mixtape, Civilia Demo.
When I attended this show, I didn’t know how many people called themselves fans. I knew he had them, but I had no idea how many, or how fervent they would be. However, it’s not surprising considering Rashad’s talent level and rising-star status. If this first show was any inclination of the future, my advice to the non-rap-loving America is this: get used to Isaiah Rashad. He’s going to be here doing his thing for a while.