Isaiah Rashad avoids sophomore slump on “The Sun’s Tirade”

Andrew Linnabary

Isaiah Rashad’s “The Sun’s Tirade” acts as a refinement of the sound he developed on his 2014 debut, “Cilvia Demo.” 

The TDE-signee and Chattanooga, Tennessee, native explores depression, substance abuse and nostalgia in equal measures over laidback, soulful instrumentals. Though the highs are not as high as those on his debut (there’s nary a track as good as “West Savannah” to be found), Rashad puts together a consistent – in both sound and quality— album that doesn’t reinvent his shtick, but polishes it.

It opens (after a skit making fun of the album’s many delays) with “4r da Squaw,” which finds Rashad reflecting on his sudden success as a rapper. The song gives a taste of the sound to be found throughout the album, with a lazy, strolling beat complimented by Rashad’s melodic drawl. Rashad says he has “a dollar and a stop in Kansas,” alluding to both J. Cole’s “Dollar and a Dream” and the Wizard of Oz. 

“Meal Ticket” details Rashad’s childhood, referencing the food stamps his family relied upon. Rashad’s elastic delivery touches on everything from run-ins with cops, drug use and his “kinfolk” who “just got on that Coca-Cola,” referencing how big of a come-up landing a job at Coca-Cola was for a friend of his.

Similar themes and lyricisms are explored throughout the album at a consistent quality. 

The biggest highlight is the Zacari and Kendrick Lamar-featuring “Wat’s Wrong.” Rashad uses the soulful beat as a chance to go toe-to-toe with Lamar, and his breathless cadence delivers. Lamar, of course, is the highlight of the track, telling his label to “pay me if I’m a be rhymin’ these homonyms,” among other standout lines. 

There is one letdown to be found – The Mike Will Made-It produced “A Lot” is just too heavy and trap-influenced of a track for Rashad to find his comfort zone. Rashad decides to rely upon a restrained delivery on the track, one that doesn’t mesh well with the production. 

If there were any other major boo-boos to touch upon, it would be the length. At 17 tracks, without much variation in tone or delivery, one can’t help but think that Rashad could have shaved off five tracks to tighten things up. 

Aside from that, though, Rashad delivers. At 25-years-old, Rashad is still relatively new to the rap game. His consistency so far secures his spot as one of the strongest members of TDE — I’d argue he’s second only to Kendrick Lamar.

Grade: B