Chill gets thrown around a lot. Whether it be a euphemism for hooking up while The OA plays confusingly on in the background. Or a student telling a teacher to do so after they didn’t pass in their homework. Or a describer of somebody who is easy to hang out with.
Isaiah Rashad’s The Sun’s Tirade is a chill album. There are moment of this record that feel like his lyrics aren’t going to catch up to the beat. But then you realize that the beat isn’t exactly breaking your neck and he’s going to be fine. The song and his flow are reminding you to chill. Whether he is rapping about just trying to stay happy, or rapping about just trying to hook up with a girl or rapping about how chill he is he is an embodiment of practice what you preach. (That last one about talking about your chill is usually a dead give away that you’re not that. However that’s just how good he is at it. I’m so chill with him being chill and talking about it.)
Okay enough of that word I promise. Isaiah Rashad is one of the many handpicked artists out of LA that seem to be low key killing it. They may not be the biggest in the game, money wise, but their breadth and rep are definitely, like the label says, Top Dawg. Between Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q, Isaiah has a nice cornerstone of mentors to look to. He also has the freedom to do and say what he wants and have all of those creative juices flowing nearby.
Even with all of the marijuana smoke around Rashad is a breath of fresh air. He can make a hook nonsensical like in his song “4r Da Squaw” or he can have you putting the song on repeat like “Wat’s Wrong” which also happens to feature Kendrick and Zacari. The album is all over the place, with trap beats, soul-fusion and even some jam band type grooves. Yet it all fits.
At 25, Rashad along with many other artists of his generation are affirming that genre is a thing of the past. It is either what’s good, what’s bad and whether you tried hard enough to make that. His contemporaries are all killing it in their very different avenues and its all meshing well together. Whether it’s Kamaiyah or Frank or Lil Yachty (YEAH I SAID IT) these kids are giving us their creativity. Their hands are up in the air quite literally waving them like they just don’t care, saying its done, you tell me what you think. You tell me I’m doing well. I’m going to just keep making my shit and you can drop me a line and tell me its good, but I’m moving forward.
I like the company he keeps too. Like Zacari and Kendrick he also has SZA, Syd, Deacon Blues and Kari Faux. And unlike some tracks where it feels forced. Whether that forced is: “hey check out all of my friends,” or “hey check out who my producer knows,” or “hey Avicii made this a pop hit,” “hey I don’t know why he’s on here either,” or my personal favorite “hey Nelly said it was a good idea.”
The Sun’s Tirade isn’t a perfect album, when you’re so goddamn chill why be perfect? (apologies for word use) It is however a statement of what hopefully is to come. The issue is what will that be? What more can we ask of him? Is he going to have to make a #1 to get him to be more loved? He can’t make a Kendrick album full of social awareness and venom. So what is Isaiah going to have to do to be more than a critic’s darling? That seems to be the problem with great music. We don’t want the same thing again, but we don’t want drastic change either. We a progression. But can you progress and stay chill? If there is one person able to pull it off, Isaiah Rashad just maybe the answer.