Isaiah Rashad, Lance Skiiwalker, Jay IDK -- SOLD OUT
by Noah Ripley
On Monday, March 20, the Community Center for the Performing Arts proudly welcomes Isaiah Rashad’s "Lil Sunny" Tour to the WOW Hall with opening acts Lance Skiiwalker and Jay IDK.
Rashad, the 25 year-old rapper from Chattanooga, TN who Kendrick Lamar once referred to as “raw talent”, first gained national attention in 2013 when he signed with Top Dawg Entertainment, the rap label that features talented young stars such as Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q. But even before that he was developing his sound, making songs in the dorm rooms of Tennessee State University.
Signing with TDE was a dream come true for Rashad, who had grown up listening to many of their artists as a high school and college student. He draws influence from a wide variety of sources.
“I love a lot of stuff,” he told Complex in an interview in 2014. “OutKast, No Limit, Cash Money, Erykah Badu, Fugees, KRS-One, dead prez. I listen to Three-Six, Eightball & MJG, UGK, Usher, R. Kelly, Keith Sweat, Isley Brothers. A lot of R&B.”
Rashad’s influences combine to form a sound that is undoubtedly his own. His first breakout single, “Shot You Down”, built the hype for his debut project Cilvia Demo, which featured fellow TDE artists SZA, ScHoolboy Q and Jay Rock. It debuted at number 40 on the Billboard 200, with Rap Genius calling it the seventh best release of the year, and led to Rashad being named to the XXL Freshman class of 2014 alongside Chance the Rapper and Ty Dolla $ign.
It seemed that Rashad was destined to join the top tier of rap stars. But there was a long wait until his first full-length album, The Sun’s Tirade, finally came out. In interviews leading up to the release he revealed that he had become addicted to alcohol and Xanax, which hindered his creative process and caused a rift between him and his label.
“I f***ed up pretty bad,” he said in a podcast with Juan Epstein. “I almost got dropped like three times.”
Once The Sun’s Tirade was finally released in September 2016, though, Isaiah Rashad was officially back.
“Now,” he said, “I got my s*** together. I’m cool. Like, ain’t nobody cool. I was addicted to some s***, so it’s not like I don’t think about it every once in awhile. I just know I got a bigger goal to do.”
The new album, which has features from Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Jay Rock, references his troubled last few years in the opening track, “Where U At”. It’s a skit performed by TDE co-president Dave Free, who tells Rashad in a staged phone call, “You don’t care that they want to hear your next s***? You just that good huh? That must be your whole thing then. Man you got until Friday bro, I’m not asking no more dog, you got until Friday.”
While Rashad is understandably pumped about his long-awaited collaboration with Lamar, he singles out Jay Rock featuring “Tity and Dolla” in an interview with Billboard. “I like that it’s new s*** and no remix. Like the ‘Shot You Down’ s*** was cool,” he said, “but this is like a real song. Me and Jay Rock’s song is probably my favorite.”
On The Sun’s Tirade, he speaks about his addictions without making them the focal point of the music: “No matter what I do there always be some s***/That n**** need a hug and I just need a fifth/pop a xanny,” he raps on “Stuck in the Mud”.
Despite the fact that many of his songs are introspective and dreamy, not exactly a killer combo for live performances, Rashad has shown throughout the years that he is able to keep his concerts lit. He can often be found bantering with the crowd, and sometimes breaks from his set list to take audience requests.
The “Lil Sunny” tour has been traveling throughout the country since January 18. Rashad is coming to Eugene on the tail end of his West Coast trip, right before he takes his talents overseas for a European tour.
This show is completely sold out. Doors open at 8:00 pm and showtime is 9:00.