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Album Review: The House Is Burning by Isaiah Rashad

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Isaiah Rashad is a rapper from Tennessee. After signing with Top Dawg Entertainment, he released his first project which started to pave his road to fame. His second project, The Sun's Tirade is where he really started to hit things off and gain popularity. However, it took some time for a new project to come out. Even with several hints of a new album, it never really amounted to much. Now, nearly five years later, Isaiah Rashad drops his third studio project, The House Is Burning.

The first track from the album is Darkseid. After a few opening clicks, we get an old sounding sample with a few voices and piano part. I'm also surprised that we don't really get a drum beat added on here, but it's still a pretty solid track. It's also just nice to hear Isaiah rapping again since it's been a long time since his previous project. While he talks about getting rich, he also talks about how some other people will die broke or die in prison.

From the Garden keeps up the theme of samples. It opens up with a grand horn section and some small vocals. After the quick introduction, it cuts out and we get the usual trap fueled track as well as some short and quick rapping. The beat is pretty minimal, but I'm enjoying the small bass parts and the other electronic notes sprinkled in there. Other than that, I feel like this track was needed to turn up the energy of the project.
 
RIP Young definitely has some southern hip hop influence at the beginning of the track. However, once it cuts out, it definitely toned down the album again. From what I'm hearing on social media, this has been getting a lot of attention from fans, which is understandable since it's a pretty solid track. It's also trending with that interesting outro which I'm sure must of you can check out on your own to see what everyone is talking about.
 
Lay Wit Ya was the long waited return from Isaiah Rashad. While I didn't like it at first, this track definitely grew on me over time, especially with the southern-styled hip hop beat. The beat is also sampling a Three 6 Mafia track, Ridin' n' tha Chevy. The only difference is that it's pitched lower and sped up. Also, the chemistry between Isaiah Rashad and Duke Deuce works well and would love to hear them collaborate together in the future.

Claymore opens up with some interesting inaudible sounds. After about fifteen seconds through, we finally get somewhat more of a beat with scattered guitar sounds and some singing vocals. The beat keeps evolving so we eventually get more of a groovy, beach vibe. Also, since we have a beach vibe, Smino's smooth R&B singing definitely adds to the laid back feeling of the track. Definitely didn't expect that I would be digging this track that much.

Headshots (4r Da Locals) was one of the more recent singles for the album. While I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous single, it's still a solid track overall. Just thinking about the beat, it seems like it's a mix of that southern hip hop sound, as well as a mixture of some of the tracks he put out on The Sun's Tirade. While the track talks about 'headshots', it seems to take on a double meaning, which ties in violence, as well as alcohol addiction.

All Herb brings a playful and light vibe to the track. We have an electronic, ascending bell beat that carries the majority of the track, as well as a classic drumbeat. This was also the first time hearing of Amindi, which isn't a bad addition to the album. Amindi also dropped a project this year that I will have to check out sometime. Even with the soft and sweet vocals, she talks about heartbreak as well as using herb to deal with the pain.

Hey Mista is one of the two tracks on the project that are under two minutes in length. It opens up with a quick spoken introduction. Then we have a pretty simplistic beat with a piano and some distorted electronic effects. It almost sounds like an answering machine recording sound. Other than that, it just seems like a quick and rushed track. It also seems like Isaiah is just having fun with the track judging by the lyrics.
 
True Story was a track I was looking forward to, mostly because we haven't heard much from Jay Rock since Redemption, with the exception of a few singles. We also have some soothing, unaccredited vocals from Amindi again. The beat doesn't have too much going on, but we do get a decent bass part that carries throughout the track. My only complaint is that Isaiah and Amindi's vocal seem a bit lazy and almost slurred at times.

Wat U Sed was one of the latest singles released for the project. However, I didn't really get the chance to check it out before the album, so this was my first time checking it out. It's definitely something I would listen to if I was just relaxing around since it features a light and space-y synth line. It also has some usual electronic drumkits added. Isaiah Rashad said that this is another track that is paying homage to southern hip hop.

Don't Shoot opens up with some more string bass lines as well as some electronic horn sound. The beat gets a bit stale after awhile. It is repetitive like some of the other tracks, but it just doesn't appeal to me for the majority of the track. We do get a small saxophone part towards the end, but it does tend to drag on in the beginning. Other than that, Isaiah talks about growing up and how he was trying to make money, while also staying alive.

Chad opens up with a descending electronic line as well as some distorted vocal samples in the background. We also have another southern rapper added to this track, YGTUT. While this track is repetitive, this one sounds better than the previous track. Other than that, both rappers talk about basically living the luxurious lifestyle. Isaiah even says if he wasn't rapping, he'd still be driving a nice car.

9-3 Freestyle marks the shortest track on the album, just about a minute and forty-five seconds in length. It opens up with some similar drumkit sounds as the previous track. We also get a generic piano part that enters periodically. The beat and the flow of Isaiah is pretty solid on this one, especially for being a freestyle. The lyrics however, let's just say that Isaiah is sounding very thirsty with some of the comments on here.

Score was another track I was looking forward to on the project with the SZA feature. Again, besides a few features and singles, we haven't heard a full length project from SZA since Ctrl back in 2017. Just with the flow and mood of the beat, this definitely feels more like an R&B track, and SZA definitely solidifies that. Even 6LACK has a great verse on this track. This almost doesn't even feel like an Isaiah track though since the features seem to outshine him at times.

THIB brings back the dark and eerie feeling to the project, especially with some of the lyrics at the beginning saying "Who's that creeping in my window?" Isaiah said that he likes to make music that he can play at night, so that's probably why. Other than that, we have a bell-like sound that carries the track. It sounds pretty familiar, but I couldn't find anything about if it's a sample from a track or other sound clip.

The ending of the previous track smoothly transitions into the last track on the project, HB2U, which is a little under six minutes in length. Once the introduction is over, we get a more soulful and uplifting track. There's another beat change about halfway through, and we still get some similar instrumentation as the previous beat. By the end of the track, Isaiah is basically coming to terms with himself and accepting reality.
 
Isaiah Rashad is definitely proving himself in the hip hop game now with his return to music. I'm sure TDE is hoping that this will bring some life back to the record label.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Darkseid, Lay Wit Ya, Claymore, Headshots (4r Da Locals), Wat U Sed, 9-3 Freestyle, HB2U
 
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