Track Review: ‘Smile’ – Isaiah Rashad

TDE’s lone Southerner comes home


smile - isaiah rashad

Isaiah Rashad’s first track since dropping ‘Nelly‘ way back last September is both satisfying and frustrating. The only artist signed to TDE from Southern USA released this homecoming-style piece after keeping quiet for a good few months, and its much more complex than the aforementioned track in many ways.

The production is the most impressive part here, with Rahsad keeping up this trademark hypnotic sound, with an illustrious melody created by the smooth synths and some heavy sub-bass. The beat is soulful yet has this intoxicating vibe that resonates with much of what could be found on Rashad’s debut project ‘Cilvia Demo’, with a sample of singing from what I could only describe as a pitch-mixed Shirley Bassey for good measure. The bass drops in and out of the track, allowing for short breathing moments of melody before enticing you again with its atmospheric vibrations. The beat-making is top notch and solid all-round, not straying too far from the tone Rashad is trying to keep up but also keeping things a little more fresh.

The let-down here is the lyricism from TDE’s rookie. Across his first project there seemed to ‘snippets’ of what Rashad could really do lyrically, with songs like ‘Soliloquy‘ and ‘Shot You Down‘ conveying his evident flow and delivery. These were eclipsed, however, by what he continues to do here on this track, layering vocals that don’t quite match and lacking in flow when the beat demands he go hard. There’s no doubt his lyrics are personal, immediately coming in with the lines:

“This for the block, this for lil Kevin and Robin and Rockm, and Tiggi and 40 be quiet, niggas recording, you went in talking to death in them The House in this bitch”

Like I said, its homecoming track. But it isn’t anything truly significant or different from the MC. Hardcore fans will be satisfied with Rashad’s continuation  of choice beats and respective flow, but I’m still left waiting for the day he truly switches it up and gives us something that allows him to stand among the ranks of his fellow label artists, Kendrick and ScHoolboy Q. 

 

Listen: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/17923-isaiah-rashad-smile/

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