As the youngest member of the group, Isaiah Rashad obtained the “little brother” role working with the label Top Dawg Entertainment. With the release of his 2014 EP Cilvia Demo, Rashad quickly became a fan favorite. The EP followed an honest coming-of-age story that kept listeners hooked the entire time. While Rashad was absent for most of 2015 he came out of the darkness to deliver a few hot singles at the beginning of the year like “Nelly” and “Smile,”. Fans were pleased but remained hungry for more. Shortly after the release of ScHoolboy Q‘s album Blank Face LP, it was announced that Isaiah Rashad was scheduled to drop next. That occurred on the first Friday of September. The youngest member of TDE finally released his debut album, The Sun’s Tirade.
The opening track of the album touched on a topic that everyone was thinking; where is the album Zay?!!? “where u at?” features a voicemail from TDE co-president Dave Free. The voicemail shows that the frustration with the delays on the project even reached the heads of TDE. Isaiah did go on Hot 97 to talk about the delay on the album, revealing that it was due to an alcohol and pill addiction. It feels odd to listen to a voicemail complaining about the lack of an album while listening to the album. After the short 45 seconds intro the Chattanooga rapper and fans are instantly reminded why they missed Rashad so much. “4r Da Squaw” contains all the elements of a good rap song. A silky instrumental accompanied with good storytelling keeps the track moving, with infectious flows making it impossible to not rap along to.
This album contains certain style that we haven’t heard from Isaiah Rashad before. On the track “Rope” featuring SiR, the duo groove over a funky beat that sounds like a mix between early 2000’s rap and mid-80’s R&B. After a short bass riff, the track quietly switches to “rosegold.” In the same style of Schoolboy’s “Groovy Tony // Eddie Kane” 2-in-1 song, “rosegold” is what we were waiting two and a half years for. A steady drum beat moves forward and Zay is allowed to preach on top of the beat with various flows and tempos. As he repeats the line “I got the music for the vibers,” he sets the theme for the album: vibes. While these interludes complaining to Rashad about the wait were entertaining to start the project, they begin to become annoying as they appear more frequently at the end of songs. Although, they do have their funny moments like at the end of “Dresses Like Rappers” as Dave East points out how weird it is that Rashad is so young yet he speaks on all these adult topics.
Bro you was born in 1991 my nigga, that’s weird dog, it’s creepy man.
Rashad did recruited an all-star cast to appear throughout the album. Kari Faux was not a name I expected to see on the tracklist but was pleasantly surprised by her and Deacon Blues on “Bday.” Syd from The Internet has one of the best features on the album as her vocals echo Rashad on “Silkk da Shocka.” The duet-style on the track is a nice change but feels underwhelming without a solo verse from Syd. That’s not to say that The Sun’s Tirade is full of disappointing features. Jay Rock, SZA, and Kendrick Lamar all appear on the album with high caliber delivery.
With two tracks together on Cilvia Demo, the SZA-Zay duo is one of the better singer-rapper duos in hip-hop. On their track “Stuck in the Mud” the two speak on topics of failure, death, and laziness. This track says a lot about where Rashad has been mentally over the past two years. As the beat switches on the second half of the track, the line “Pop a xanny, make your problems go away” gives the listener a look into why the album took so long. As one of the most elite rap labels, hopefully TDE will be able to fight the drug abuse that is now glorified in the rap game.
Stuck in the mud
Hoes, dreamers, stuck in the mud
Look at what the reaper got stuck in the mud
The Sun’s Tirade contains highs and lows just like Isaiah Rashad is experiencing his own. The album contains great tracks like “Find A Topic” and “A Lot” that are creative and easy to enjoy but also tracks that fail to fully turn into anything like “AA.” As the youngest member of TDE, Rashad is treated like the younger brother, being supported by other label members like family. With two kids from two different baby mamas, Zay seems to be changing his outlook on life. If his drinking and xanny problem are under control, it’s only up from here for Isaiah Rashad. He has a lot of potential, and if he can stay sober, his music will be on repeat for many years to come.