Isaiah Rashad - The House is Burning
The Chattanooga, Tennessee native and TDE vet recently released his first album in about 5 years. The House is Burning is perfect nighttime accoutrements! Whether you are looking for something for being at leisure, in motion, or getting crunk, it’s all there, and sometimes even all at the same time. While he may usually be quite chill but still somewhat laid back in his last albums, in this one he somehow completely lives in that leisure and laid-backness confidently and naturally.
One of the main songs that I keep on repeat is Head shots (4hr Locals). This track reminds me of that classic Organised Noize circa Society of Soul era sound (even though Rashad himself personally stated that Anthony Hamilton was a more direct inspiration). Even with that the lyrics still remind me of Outkast’s B.O.B. and the way that the chorus could be interpreted in different ways depending on context but obviously and definitely Rashad.
The vocals arrangement of “All Herb” reminds me of Digable Planets’ Blowout Comb. This is another one that I really can’t put away and I’m amazed that it can be so flowy and effortless yet so thick. I love how Rashad uses his more natural voice on this album and this track being paired with Amindi is incredibly perfect. Like the perfect pairing of food. Like the first time I paired gruyere with a Rioja or Crown Royal with ginger ale on ice with a lime. Him using his natural voice also brings more focus to the words and lyrics of each track, enunciating the more poetic moments perfectly.
I have to admit that as much as I enjoy this album sometimes I wish that he would go a bit more in-depth more often on his experiences and the way that he sees things. Don’t get me wrong, he does it. I just wish it was more often(This is me officially saying that I can’t wait for another album). The opening track “Darkseid” feels like it's setting up the rest of the album to be a direct confrontation with his personal demons and the way that he sees things. When I think of Rashad’s wordplay and delivery and writing I somehow don’t think of him as a lyricist or performer. The way that he writes feels to very much hint at both and he is incredibly capable at both but the words he chooses tend to resonate in a poetic blues-ness. The lyrics “Whatever gon' keep my kids safe, my kids full, I'm with it” may seem simple but it’s just so real. Something that anyone with kids that wants to do right by them can sympathize with. And this is how Rashad draws you in. That basic sympathy is the invitation to be a part of this world that he’s trying to figure out, but that he lives in and explores with a natural confidence that encourages one to be honest with themselves and to know that whatever happens, everything will be good.
RIYL: Nighttime leisure, Quiet frivolity, Understated Poetics