Itzme Review: Isaiah Rashad – Cilvia Demo

As you probably already know if you’ve been interested enough to read this, Isaiah Rashad is the newest signing to the upstart rap label TDE. Back in ’12 they was pretty much dropping the best hip-hop collectively, aside from Fool’s Gold. That being said, people tuned into Isaiah Rashad quickly, being associated with that name. Now all of a sudden everyone’s excited about this Cilvia Demo. “ISAIAH RASHAD ISAIAH RASHAD OMG”

kinda blindly in a way. Butttt is this album deserving of ALL the hype? Nottt reaaaally.

Okay okay, now don’t get me wrong. Cilvia Demo is a cool listen, it’s not hot gahbage. The overall feel is really laid-back (aside from Soliloquy) and sort of dreary like a boring summer day or a chill Sunday. Rashad sports a comfortable array of cadence patterns to fit his beats. A common shortcoming of rappers that he manages to avoid on this album is that he doesn’t rap the same on every song.  There’s subtle sorta-clever moments throughout this joint, namely on the aforementioned “Soliloquy”.

“Don’t you put me on Freshman covers, I’m posin’ for lunch”

Most of the songs are pretty catchy, even if just by pure repetition. All of the beats are cool, they all kinda add to that feel I was talking about before. So pretty much anybody can pick up Cilvia Demo, and not be disgusted by it. That’s an extreme emotion though.

The main thing that holds back Cilvia Demo is there’s no standout features about it. None of the songs are really about any… thing. There are no genius concepts, flow acrobatics, mind-melting punchlines, impressive melodies, just… decent music. Throughout the joint, Rashad makes a lot of shallow references to his father, and by the end of the tape you wonder if he actually cares, or if he’s just saying it to invoke sympathy or make him look deep. He wavers from rejoicing in his debauchery and potheadedness, to sort of feeling guilty about it, which would be a little more respectable if the looks at them weren’t so shallow and short-lived. His delivery doesn’t help either. Albeit decent to listen to, it doesn’t have any feeling to it. You listen to “Banana” and he’s literally yelling:

“My daddy left me with no details

Came back with a b** and a stepson

I guess he forgot he left sumn”

But it comes across with the same passion as the subsequent line:

“Pearl necklace, I empty my left nut”

Just Eeyore level personality.

The other qualm with this album is how he does a lot of the hooks. Some of them may be catchy just off the virtue of the same thing being repeated over and over and over and over, but some of them are just sad. Danny Dee descends from the beat heavens and gives him this “Brad Jordan” instrumental and he says “feel like I’m Brad Jordan, feel like I’m Brad Jordan, feel like I’m Brad Jordan, feel like I’m Jordan” in the most dull mumbling he could think of, and it’s shocking because the verses are pretty nice. He gets on his J. Cole ish by singing his own hook on “West Savannah” even with a very capable singer being featured on the track. Needless to say, it made the song much less enjoyable.

Cilvia Demo is great background music. A person listens to Cilvia Demo, and they probably bob their head, wave their shoulders, perhaps even enjoy the lyrics. However, that person really doesn’t learn anything about Isaiah Rashad, but that his father left (and not how he feels about it besides it’s bad… I guess), he smokes and drinks, and he listens/ed to the same stuff that 90% of people who listen(ed) to rap listens to. If I had to describe the album it would be smooth, shallow, and bland.

This joint cool enough to be in the refrigerator though.

Favorites: What favorites?

Songs that blew me: None really.


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