Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade (Album Review)

“In my hood we call it clout, fuck bout what you think of me.” -Isaiah Rashad

Almost three years after the release of his first TDE album, Cilvia Demo, Zaywop has finally released his next installment: The Sun’s Tirade. Does this album improve on what was already presented in Cilvia Demo? Can he still be just as versatile and skilled lyrically/commercially, and stand out among the overwhelming list of artists already on the TDE label? Lets take a further look.

Fun Fact: On the meaning behind the title The Sun’s Tirade, Isaiah said the following during a recent Breakfast Club interview: “I like the name of it! It’s just basically described as a LONG.ASS.DAY.” Taken literally, one could interpret the word “sun”as representing a single day, while “tirade” is defined as a long, anger-filled speech of criticism or accusation. This explains the reason behind tracks like “Wat’s Wrong,” “Park” and more importantly, “Smile” (which was not included on the album).

Foundation/Promotion

Isaiah officially announced the album title, release date, track-list and artwork on August 26th, 2016. Beforehand, Top Dawg (true to form) made very subtle hints about TDE dropping a new album but never stated whose project it’d be. Then the “Free Lunch” visual released, displaying “09.02.16” in its final frame, signifying Isaiah was up next and coming soon.  After multiple pushbacks last year following the release of “Nelly” and “Smile,” fans were more than ready.

Fun Fact: The constant pushbacks were due to Isaiah’s alcohol and Xanax addiction. After the release of Cilvia Demo and during the Oxymoron tour with ScHoolboy Q, Isaiah was battling depression, anxiety and chronic episodes of isolation which almost resulted in him getting dropped from TDE three times. (You can find more details in the video below).

Singles & Production/Features

“Free Lunch” was the only lead single pushed for the album on August 7th, 2016. “i mean” and “Park” became leaked tracks but not commercial singles.

Producers:

  • Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith (executive)
  • The Antydote
  • Al B. Smoov
  • Cam O’bi
  • Carter Lang
  • Chris Calor
  • Crooklin
  • D. Sanders
  • Dave Free
  • Deacon Blues
  • D.K. the Punisher
  • DZONYBEATS
  • FrancisGotHeat
  • Free P
  • J. LBS
  • Jowin
  • Mike Will Made It
  • Steve Lacy
  • Park Ave.
  • Pluss
  • Pops
  • Tiggi

Featured Artists:

  • Dave Free (interlude vocals)
  • Deacon Blues
  • Hugh Augustine
  • Jay Rock
  • Kari Faux
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • SiR
  • Syd tha Kyd
  • SZA
  • Zacari

Fun Fact (x2):

Whether or not Isaiah and SZA share a romantic relationship has been a popular topic among interviewers and fans alike, especially after Isaiah admitted they’ve lived together as roommates before being signed. However Zaywop assures that he views SZA as a sister and nothing more.

– Speculation as to whether internal tension existed between Isaiah and label mate Kendrick Lamar also arose, being that they were the only TDE artists who had yet to collab. However, rumors were put to rest after the two performed together for the first time at the 2016 FYF Festival in Los Angeles, California.

Featured Spotlight: Dave Free

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It’s actually Dave Free at the end of those album interludes (not ScHoolboy Q …WAKE UP Y’ALL) and the reason he’s chosen for this featured spotlight is for that simple fact alone.  He gave direction to Isaiah, and in turn, to the entire album. If you are unfamiliar with Dave, he’s half-part of the TDE video filming duo “The Little Homies” with Kendrick Lamar, and serves as a producer as well.  This may not hold a lot of weight to some as far as why he deserves the feature spotlight, but his interludes bolster even my own opinion regarding the final verdict of this album.

Honorary Mentions:

Zacari: The boy only had a hook and managed to make “Wat’s Wrong” stand out as one of the best songs on the album.

SZA: I sometimes wonder why she  and Zaywop are not a duo. Any track they touch is harmoniously remarkable, including “Stuck In The Mud.”

Kendrick Lamar: I’m glad this man didn’t just multi-man his way through a 16 or 32 for once, considering his few features on this style of rapping was his way out. Thankfully he switched it up.

 

Final Verdict

So what can be said as a whole regarding this album?  Dave Free’s interlude says it all:

“Tell me, man you talkin’ bout this, you talkin’ bout that. Talkin’ about shit you ain’t got nothin’ to talk about, find a motherfuckin’ topic, God damn just find the topic bro. Seriously God damn, complicated ass young motherfuckers.”

On one hand, half of the album is solidified with great concepts, production and lyrics that not only hold my attention once but had me smashing the repeat button (I’m looking at you “Wats Wrong,” “Park,” “Stuck In The Mud,” “4r Da Squaw” “Free Lunch” & “Brenda”). But then the other handful of tracks didn’t quite do it for me.  I felt they were just placed as fillers within the album (“A Lot” for example; I don’t care if Mike Will Made It produced the beat).

Speaking of production, both that and content sonically as a whole doesn’t exactly promote exponential growth as an artist. To break it down simply, sonically the album just felt like new music that was made for the sake of making new music.  I mean, sure Zaywop had some punches, metaphors, etc but considering this is a TDE album, I was expecting a whole lot more lyrical content. Especially since older tracks such as “Soliloquy,” “Fake Trill,” and “Heavenly Father” suggest that Isaiah has a better lyrical/conceptual ability within him.

I hate to box him in with other artists but being on the TDE roster requires being able to stand out among your uniquely talented label mates. What’s crazy is when I first listened to Cilvia Demo, Isaiah sounded so full of conviction and emotion. He was different. Now to hear this project in which he nearly “mumble rapped” or didn’t have much substance kind of made the album less enjoyable. Eight tracks definitely did it for me but another 7-8 missed the mark for me personally. I’d have liked for “Smile” and “Nelly” to replace two tracks on the album to give it more weight (as these were the songs that put Zaywop back on track during his darkest times). In all, The Sun’s Tirade delivers a plethora of great new tracks from Zaywop, but it comes with 1/2 an album of filler tracks that are forgettable and underwhelming. But hey. Gotta take the good with the bad, right?

Renegade Rating: 3.95/5

If you’re interested in listening to the album, you can do so below via Spotify:

 

 

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