Photo Editorial Credit: Warner Records
The last time Isaiah Rashad dropped an album in the late summer of 2016, the world was a much different place. With his latest project “The House is Burning” Chattanooga’s finest has proved that he hasn’t missed a single step and might understand this new world better than all of us.
This project lives and dies on it’s imagery. The pace of this album compared to all previous releases Rashad has made is astounding. Early on in his career, it was the slow and moody sound that gave each song the feeling of a mixture of unique influences. The only problem was it was hard to decipher how much of this was Rashad’s own creativity and how much was it the sum of an eclectic group of references. That is no longer a question with “The House is Burning”, it sits alone in a group of music yet to be named and puts the “Claymore” artist on a very well deserved pedestal.
This album is a deceptively easy listen, it works hard to satisfy the needs of those who would just simply like to hear some new great music, but sacrifices none of what made Isaiah so special. The actual deception comes from layers that are produced from repeated listens to this project. Anyone who believes they can say definitively what genre this project belongs to is blowing smoke. The depth doesn’t stop there though, with the delivery just buzzing by it can easy to write this off as some type of betrayal of the status many have ascribed to Rashad as an MC. If you take time to truly examine what is being done you realize quickly that is incredibly false. What seems to have been realized in the making of this project is the fact that, Isaiah can tell any story with his lyrics but he can also tell that same story with his cadence and flow. It’s just an extra level to the artistry that honestly would have benefited some of our favorite MCs if they discovered it as well.
At the age of 30 Isaiah’s sound has progressed passed the critiques present in his earlier work. It seems that the blend of sounds present of this album was only something that could have come after a lengthy period of self discovery in a crazy world, which seems to be the process Rashad went through to achieve this truly impressive project. Artist are constantly changing, and best of artist respond to the changes with-in them and in the outside world. “The House is Burning” is unique in that it doesn’t set out to respond to any critiques of the past, but it exist in it’s spectacular form because of an unwillingness to settle that comes across in every track.