The Sun’s Tirade casts Isaiah Rashad in a different state from where he left off two years ago with the release of his breakout debut Cilvia Demo. While a lot of the themes are similar throughout The Sun’s Tirade, Rashad is different. His words have more urgency. He’s older, almost exhausted.
Since Cilvia Demo, self destruction has steered his course. Almost getting kicked off his label three times for struggling with alcohol and, the latest choice drug of rappers, Xanax. The wear and tear is evident from the jump. “4r The Sqaw,” gets things off to a somber start. On the hook, Rashad raps, “you ain’t nothing but a baby, your fear is growing up.” On the last hook, the emphasis switches from his fear of growing up to his “fear” growing up, signifying a possible escape from captivity. However, at this point in the album the future looks bleak. On “Titty & Dolla” Rashad makes another blatant reference to the effects of his addiction, “gotta consider my liver, gotta get rid of my kidney, that was the only thing holding me back.” The song’s hook is an ode to the influential Outkast songs “Ill Call B4 I Cum” and “We Luv Deez Hoes” off of their 4th studio album “Stankonia.”
Much like Cilvia Demo, the production throughout the album is flawless. On “Free Lunch” a subtle jazz guitar riff plays throughout as Rashad reminisces on Chattanooga and his homies and family. A few songs later Rashad raps over production from Park Ave and D. Sanders. The beat has a rattling high hat that hits perfectly with a little bit of bass. Rashad switches his delivery, choosing a choppy flow with shorter verses that puts a more syncopated emphasis into his lyrics. “Trust me I feel like the man, trust me I feel like the Wop, rock,” raps Rashad, likening himself to Gucci Mane who was recently released from prison in great shape having been away from drugs. Out of nowhere, the DJ tag “Eardrummers” shatters the serenity of the album and Mike Will Made It’s production takes over, reminding listeners that it’s 2016.
The absence of his father has played a large role in Rashad’s music since Cilvia Demo. There are fewer direct references to him on The Sun’s Tirade, but he is still a driving force behind the emotion and pain in Rashad’s music. On “Dressed Like Rappers” Rashad focuses on being around his two children and being a positive influence. In the song he also poses an important question about the influence that he and other rappers have on youth, “little boys dressed like rappers, can that road make them daddies?” Toward the end of the song he also raps about redemption, “I talked to God, I got approved, I got a life now.” This line signifies an important mood shift in the project, feeding directly into the next song “Don’t Matter.” Like a gift to listeners and to himself “Don’t Matter” signifies the rebirth of Isaiah Rashad. The electric, upbeat production backs his lyrics, which are filled with strength. He finally rejects what’s bringing him down, whether it’s an unnamed partner or drugs and alcohol.
While there are obvious differences between this release and Cilvia Demo, Rashad is still the same rapper. Filling listener’s ears with intricate lyrics woven seamlessly into a mixture of West Coast and dirty South production and rapping with individuality and originality while incorporating flows and cadences from some of the best to ever touch a mic. Though it might not come across as one, The Sun’s Tirade is an album filled with hope and reason to celebrate. This is a triumphant step forward in both the music and life of Isaiah Rashad.
Written by Jesse Wiles