A lesser known member of the 2014 XXL Freshman class, Isaiah Rashad gained wide-spread fame shortly after releasing his first extended play, Cilvia Demo. The album debuted at number 40 on the US Billboard 200 and sold over 8,000 copies in the first week. Back in 2013 Rashad signed with Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and joined the likes of Kendrick Lamar, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock. He toured internationally with ScHoolboy earlier this year and is said to be working on the successor to his critically acclaimed EP.
This guy has one of the craziest lists I’ve seen from any hip-hop/rap artist in a while. A quick look at some of the later names is enough to warrant an immediate listen.
Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, OutKast, No Limit Records, Cash Money Records, Erykah Badu, The Fugees, KRS-One, Dead Prez, Three 6 Mafia, 8Ball & MJG, UGK, R. Kelly, Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, James Brown, The Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Gorillaz, Danger Mouse, Gnarls Barkley, and Lil Wayne.
Cilvia Demo was my first introduction to 23 year-old Rashad, who’s career started back in 2010 while still in the tenth grade. The album tells the typical coming-of-age story that we get from most breakout artists in hip-hop and rap, but something about Rashad’s lyrical prowess and the album’s outstanding collection of beats make this particular story one worth listening to. Cilvia Demo features few artists, SZA, Jay Rock, and ScHoolboy the most recognizable, so 9 of the 14 tracks are strictly Isaiah.
I smoke too much: the problems of a twenty-something
If a young artist is confident enough to forgo the typical headlining feature on his first release then he likely doesn’t need it. These guys retain their style throughout their career and probably won’t ever rely on big-name features to make it. Cilvia Demo is exactly what we look for in a freshman album and anyone who fancies hip-hop will consider it a worthy addition to their library.
Take a listen to the ‘demo’ below and note the subtle similarities in style between Isaiah and Kendrick. TDE looks like the perfect fit.
Track List: (Crunched for time? Bold tracks are golden)
- Webbie Flow (U Like)
- Cilvia Demo
- R.I.P. Kevin Miller
- Ronnie Drake (feat. SZA)
- West Savannah (feat. SZA)
- Menthol (feat. Jean Deaux)
- Heavenly Father
- Brad Jordan (feat. Micheal Da Vinci)
- Shot You Down (feat. Jay Rock & ScHoolboy Q)