Dan From the Internet used to root for Terrell Owens at UT Chattanooga.
For a genre that’s been around as long as hip-hop, we rarely get to see black male depression portrayed accurately. Sure, we have Kanye’s depression as a constant reminder of the consequences of making black art in white spaces. We have Drake’s misery, which has always been somewhat generic and insular. Even the anxieties in Kendrick Lamar’s morose TPAB seemed disconnected from the everyday.
Isaiah Rashad, meanwhile, never seems to fetishize his sadness. On new single “Free Lunch,” Rashad raps about the milieu that hovers in the orbit of everyday people. Rashad is funny: “Meal ticket, ticket, comma / Still in my liver, real niggas in my condom.” Sometimes he’s optimistic and dour: “Today was a keeper, yeah, I lost my heroes a long time ago…” Rashad is three dimensional, with an honesty that is at times discomforting.
“The flow is good, the hoe is good, the show is good, you know it’s scrub.” Rashad’s Chattanooga drawl cuts through the beat as he takes you through the mundanity of Tennessee. It’s triumphant at times—somber when it needs to be and rewards listeners on multiple listens. Isaiah Rashad at 25 seems to have figured out enough to be wise beyond his years. And wise enough to not care.