Isaiah Rashad is a young G who is genuine in every aspect of his career. That’s a big part of why his name is blowing up across the blogosphere. From recording in a dorm room closet to signing a record deal with Top Dawg Entertainment, his story is remarkable. Listening to his older music gives you a vivid picture of where his genius comes from— young, curious and facing the pressures of the world, he used his pain to touch people and share powerful messages.
If you like #YoungGeniuz music, Rashad is a name you need to get familiar with. Following the release of his debut EP with TDE, Cilvia Demo, he is preparing to embark on the Oxymoron Tour with Schoolboy Q and Vince Staples. Mechanical Dummy had a chance to sit down with Isaiah to discuss his newfound success.
Words by. Roger Kimbeni
Mechanical Dummy: How you doing?
Isaiah Rashad: What’s going on?
MD: Great. You’re out in Los Angeles now, chilling—everything’s changed up for you? What’s been going on with you as of late?
IR: Lately I’ve just been recording music, chilling with the team—the homies and everything, and trying to stay as level headed as possible. Nothing too crazy—not to me at least.
MD: You have the Cilvia Demo project dropping, how did you feel about that?
IR: It was a compilation of some of the first songs I made before I got signed. You’ll see a lot of growth especially in comparison to a lot of the earlier songs, and you’ll be able to tell the difference. You can feel the atmosphere of music.
MD: I’ve listened to a lot of your earlier music, you can hear some sort of a dark vibe, it’s kind of depressing, it’s like the older we get the tougher it gets. How do you feel about being 22 and being in a system trying to get out of it?
IR: As far as the system goes, as we get older; being black or just people in general at this day and age—the margin of error gets slim and there’s less room to make mistakes. You can get caught up and shit can just go south. The smallest stuff can turn into something big—you know what I’m saying? I don’t really have too much to say about the system as far as getting out, just don’t get in the system you feel me? Haha. Try to stay on the path that’s meant for you and try to avoid all the bullshit.
MD: You worked a lot, being a communication major, working multiple jobs, what were you trying to pursue outside of rap?
IR: I don’t even know man; I was talking to my homie Chris about that today. We were just trying to get some money, out of high school they beat it into your head that you gotta start a life for yourself right there and they don’t really let you be 20. They leave it up to you to realize, “Ok, I can just be as old as I am and I can be my age and just live and not take everything too seriously,” but that that’s what it was. When I turned 18 I got super serious with what I have to do with myself and I had to figure it out. So I didn’t think of anything outside of rap, but I knew that rap is what I really wanted to do but it didn’t seem realistic based on what people have been trying to tell us for the longest time. They used to tell me you should be a teacher, you should do this or you should do that—do something secure. This feels pretty secure now.
MD: Lots of things are going on, how is your experience with being a father now?
IR: I’m excited for the project to drop so I can go chill with my kid actually for a couple weeks, we be in two different states you know what I mean? That’s something different about this process, being separated from my family for a little bit. But ain’t nothing I can’t take though, like being a parent right now, its new to me, I just had a kid so it’s real new, he’s 7 months. I really want to be around, I understand, but I gotta do what I gotta do. His 2’s, 3’s and 4’s will be blurry but the 5 and 6s will be something more memorable. Something to remember. I just want to make sure I do what I have to so he can have a cool ass life.