Album Reviews, Arts & Entertainment

Isaiah Rashad’s ‘The House is Burning’ incompletely embodies its fiery namesake

More than half a decade has passed since Isaiah Rashad released his dense, jazzy sophomore album, The Sun’s Tirade. While hip-hop music trends come and pass quickly, the release of Rashad’s new album The House is Burning on July 30 proved that he remains in the unique conscious, melodic, lo-fi-style lane of hip-hop that he has carved out for himself. 

The album expands this sound into a more complete and diverse listening experience. However, not all of this growth leads to success, as minor sonic inconsistencies upset the project’s general flow. 

Rashad is at his best when his album’s lyrics are introspective and the production soulful. On its second single, “Headshots (4r Da Locals),” Rashad becomes self-reflective on poetic rhymes such as “I see God when I be ridin’ out / Boy, you always ridin’ round with a target on,” over a beautiful vocal sample. Rashad showcases his skillful breath control and smooth flow on songs like “9-3 Freestyle,” where he raps quickly and effortlessly without sacrificing his voice’s tranquil nature.

While Rashad’s experimentation with trap instrumentals is effective in diversifying the album, his repetitive flow and the heavy percussion on “From The Garden” becomes obnoxious and tiring to listen to, not to mention the unexpected—and unwanted—feature from Lil Uzi Vert. Similarly, Rashad’s attempt at singing on “HB2U” lacks enough harmony or expression to make up for the absence of any solid verses, leaving much to be desired in spite of a mesmerizing vocal sample. While these tracks bring variety to The House is Burning, they take away from its greater enjoyability. 

Overall, Rashad develops both himself and his sound into an album’s worth of hard-hitting and simultaneously lo-fi rap music on The House is Burning. The album’s many highlights, such as “RIP Young” or “THIB,” outweigh its occasional missteps. 

 

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