Saturday, September 3, 2016

The sun might be close to setting on Isaiah Rashad's 'The Sun's Tirade'

The Sun's Tirade by Isaiah Rashad
TDE artist Isaiah Rashad (Isaiah Rashad McClain) from Chattanooga, Tenn kept his anxious fans waiting for his official debut LP for over two and a half years, but in truth the time gap was reasonable and just about adequate, to get the job done that is. Some take much longer to drop while others, especially those fresh off a hit, are quicker off the pedal, yet that didn’t stop Rashad from poking fun at himself in the opening skit of The Sun’s Tirade, in which a friend complains to him about the delay over a recorded phone convo. The Sun’s Tirade (Sept 2, Top Dawg Entertainment) acts as Isaiah’s first studio album, but by this time, it well nigh feels like Cilvia Demo, his January 2014 “EP” played that part or should be considered to have, since that one is actually quite good and of long play length. This album, while full in duration, is very laid-back with some dull spitting admittedly, and it feels much more like a fusion project rather than a wholly dedicated, strictly constructed, grassroots hip-hop one.
The space-staring Isaiah Rashad expresses all too familiar sentiments and gives random short-lasting thoughts in singsong delivery, and for the most part, the vibes within are slow, laggard and intoxicated, fitting in well with the up-in-the-air zeitgeist of modern day cloud rap; however, when the messages don’t offer much that is extremely new, there’s a bit of a problem. Some of Isaiah’s vocals of short hazy explanations sound like halfway tipsy slurs, not articulated bars. He should have been more upright, direct and forward with his words instead of fuzzing them in vague muddy cyphers and underprepared comments and phrases. For a TDE release, it’s got the standard type of guests, featuring Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, SZA and Odd Future affiliate Syd from The Internet but also smaller yet similar-sounding players Deacon Blues, Hugh Augustine and others.
Although it takes from new methods of acid hip-hop and experimental rap-crooning, this typical rap narrative-following Sun’s Tirade doesn’t strike hard in really any way so to speak. It does good work as an easy bluesy jazz and walking soul album on simmer, but as a boiling rap album, it just might call in sick any day now (more like any song now actually). And while fans were perhaps expecting a delicious stew or bisque with a bunch of fresh ingredients, we instead have a relatively new spin on consomm√© for this album, prepared correctly but with not much more unfortunately. Burbling along with his head or whole being in the skies, Rashad often has his feet entirely off the ground here. Next time he should think about coming down. Of Top Dawg’s entire rundown of anticipated 2016 releases, The Sun’s Tirade might be the weakest link unfortunately. For the record, Isaiah Rashad as a rapper is more substantial than jokers and devices like Young Thug and Future (just two examples) who are trying to infiltrate, dirty and set the game back, but there is much more he could have said here to set himself apart in a revolutionary way.
2 out of 5 stars

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