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Album Reviews In Bad Places: Isaiah Rashad’s “Cilvia” at the Dentist

Posted by Lucas G. on 01/28/14 | Filed under Top Stories, Opinion, Album Reviews, TDE, Album Reviews in Bad Places, Isaiah Rashad

So today, I had to wake up early, put on real pants before 2 PM (#bloglife), take the Metro (which included waiting for 15 minutes in the freezing cold) to go to the dentist so I could overpay to get my teeth poked at while some dental hygienist tries to talk to me (as if I can have a conversation with metal tools all up in my grill), got back on the Metro (which got delayed to no end), and got home three hours later. Pretty shitty day right? Wong; I had Isaiah Rashad's "Cilvia EP" playing the whole time.

Anybody can make an album you can enjoy while hanging out with the homies, sitting at home lounging or making out with a special someone, but if you can make an album that people can enjoy in even the worst of circumstances than you, my rapping friend, have done well. Though I haven't had a chance to really pick it apart and form a well-rounded opinion, I managed to really dig Isaiah Rashad's Cilvia EP in less than ideal conditions, so I am willing to go out on a limb and say it's fucking dope.

I am not that familiar with Rashad, so I went into this project expecting him to come out guns blazing to show he can keep up with the Top Dawg's top dogs. He didn't, but to be fair, he didn't really try to. Isaiah sounds like someone who really has his own sound in mind and doesn't need or want to prove that he can fit in; ironically, that mindset is exactly what he needs to, in fact, fit in. The first few songs were slower, more laid back efforts, so, naturally (because of Kendrick) I was expecting something gritty and hardcore to come at any moment, seemingly out of nowhere. Expecting some high-octane, rambunctious cuts  was a little frustrating at first, because it was slower cut after slower cut some of which bordered on R&B ("Ronnie Drake"); the "hardest", grimiest cut was "Soliliquy", which isn't even really all that crazy. It wasn't until about midway through my trip (about seven songs) I realized that Isaiah is definitely more laid-back and low-key than the likes of Ab-Soul or ScHoolboy; and after I got it out of my head that he had to be that and this was some epic proving ground, I started to enjoy the album more for what it is; a talented, young emcee making some mellow (definitely smoker-approved) music. 

In fact, I much prefer his more mellow side than the gritty Rashad. Leaving the dentist after dropping more than I would ever want to and heading for the cold, normally puts me in a bad mood; I FUCKING HATE the dentist. As I dipped faster than you could say "remember to floss twice a day" (like that's ever gonna fucking happen), "Heavenly Father" came on, and I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. The miserable, freezing four block walk to the metro felt like a summer stroll. I even went an extra block to walk through Farragut Square just because. It might not sound like much but when its like 10 degrees, that is quite an accomplishment.

Other cuts that stood out to me were "West Savannah" (because Outkast) and "Cilvia Demo" (really love his flow on it), but for me, today was all about "Heavenly Father"; the amount of times I listened to it on repeat is bordering on unhealthy. I love his almost sung flow and the youthful, lax vibe. Maybe it's because I too am in my mind 20s and would rather smoke weed and drink than take advice, but something about this effort just spoke to me. Relating to your fans is critical and, especially on a debut project, you want to give the listeners an idea of who you are. With songs like this and "hereditary" you hear great beats and flows but you also get to know just who he is as an artist and a person; his introspectiveness was unexpected and it really impressed me.

Of course there are faults here and there and he has plenty of room to grow - his ceiling is higher than Snoop skiing in Colorado - but overall, I was really impressed. I look forward to watching him grow under TDE's guidance and it is good to see that the future of one of the newer powerhouses  in the game is in good hands. Bottom line, Rashad turned a shitty day at the dentist into a day that was more about finding my new favorite song; as far as gut reactions go it doesn't get much better than that.

If you're feeling properly inspired, you can stream select tracks and cop "Cilvia" on the mothership. Enjoy...

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