Interview by: Colton Beausoleil
It’s undeniable that Isaiah Rashad has been the talk of the game since the release of “I Shot You Down”. There were subtle hints before hand leading up to the official announcement that he had signed with T.D.E., though until the release of the song that set everything in motion; Isaiah Rashad was behind the scenes working on his project Cilvia Demo. As the first of six release’s from T.D.E. this year, Cilvia Demo quickly made it’s way to being one of the top projects released and proved it’s one made for longevity. With such a powerful start, it doesn’t look like Isaiah Rashad is going anywhere anytime soon and I’m excited to see what the future holds for the Chattanooga, Tennessee artist. Cilvia Demo being his first project, being a part of a powerhouse label shaping a new generation, tied in with being an incredibly talented artist, Isaiah Rashad is just getting started. With the goals he has set for himself, it can only get better than it already is. First impression’s are key and Isaiah set a new standard I think. We caught up with Isaiah Rashad to talk about his new project Cilvia Demo, what he’s learned since being with T.D.E, touring and his upcoming show in Toronto.
Read the full interview below.
TCUS: You’re headed on tour with Schoolboy Q in a week, how are you feeling about that?
Isaiah Rashad: I’m dumb excited about that. It’s going to be turnt’ up, I’m sure of it. I’ve never done nothing like that so it’ll be cool.
TCUS: Just before then, you’re making a stop in Toronto [at Tattoo] Thursday. What can people expect out at the show?
Isaiah Rashad: I plan on everybody leaving with the songs stuck in their head. I’m just going to be jamming out like crazy. I haven’t really had the opportunity to have a jamming session with the new project [Cilvia Demo] so I’m definitely going to pull a couple of those tracks out and see if they’ll rock with it. I think it should be fun.
TCUS: You’ve never been to Canada before have you?
Isaiah Rashad: Never been up to Canada no. I hope it’s not too freezing still.
TCUS: What was the whole experience like being in the works of signing with Top Dawg Entertainment as it was and still is one of the most talked about labels of today’s generation?
Isaiah Rashad: I was really more excited than anything else when it happened. It kind of got sprung on me. It all happened really fast. It happened in like three days, so it was more of a waiting game. I knew what was happening when I went out there [to California] so it was more so just waiting for all the paperwork. It wasn’t no crazy adventure or nothing going over to do that, but how it all happened was more exciting than it happening. I was just tripped out, like you said it’s one of the biggest labels of this generation. One of the most talked about, if not one of the most important.
TCUS: “I Shot You Down” dropped when everything was official, were you working on Cilvia Demo long before then?
Isaiah Rashad: I’ve been working on the basis, the idea of it since before I got signed. After I got signed is when it all really came together.
TCUS: Did you have any expectations you wanted to meet with the project?
Isaiah Rashad: More so, I wanted to be able to play myself next to my favorite albums and not skip one song, listen through the whole thing. This is my first project I’ve ever done, so I wanted it to be on par with everything I’d listen to.
TCUS: You mentioned how “I Shot You Down” was one of eight songs you scrapped on a previous project, bringing it back you mention how “everything changed” [“it was like my life started over”]. Can you dig into that a bit?
Isaiah Rashad: When I said it felt like my life started over, I was talking about that moment in time. Right after I did that song like a month later I got signed. It’s my favorite track, it meant a lot to me. I was at the end of my rope when I wrote that. I mean, I was at the end of what felt like to me having to pursue a regular job or being able to really do music. It was like my life turned around. The choice got made for me.
TCUS: You mention not wanting to make any statements with the project, rather have the listener make the statement for you. What do you think the fans got as a first impression?
Isaiah Rashad: From what I’ve read on what people have picked up from it, they dissected it the way I wanted them to. They got the message I wanted to give to them. The conflict, I wanted that to be a big part of it you know what I mean? If I would’ve went a made statements about it I would’ve said it’s real conflicted, it has a lot of high’s and low’s in it. People truly got that though it seems within the first couple listens. I knew people would get it though, it wasn’t that hard to get.
TCUS: You being excited to see what people’s take on the album is six months from now, what’s your take on why music gets forgotten about so easily nowadays?
Isaiah Rashad: I honestly can’t tell you how another artist’s mindset is, that I don’t know but I feel like there are people who just make music on some conveyor belt type of shit. I know when we go in, we try and make our favorite track every time.
TCUS: Do you think Top Dawg Entertainment is the exception? The way people are always supporting so heavily and keep the music in full rotation.
Isaiah Rashad: I think T.D.E. is the cornerstone. The turning point. I think calling it the exception doesn’t makes it seem that important. Calling it a cornerstone, calling it like an anomaly, something that doesn’t happen. It’s like the start of something, I think that’s more important. That’d be the better way to put what T.D.E is.
TCUS: What advice would you give to an artist who may be in the same position as you?
Isaiah Rashad: My advice to a new artist, test your music out. Show it to your friends, make sure they’re open minded people who are going to give you realistic input. Surround yourself with people who boost you and motivate you. Just surround yourself with greatness. Surround yourself with the best people you can surround yourself with. Feed off that creative output. That’s how I did it. My friends really made sure I didn’t take no bullshit. We set our own standards. That’s the most important thing, setting your standards. You have got to set your own standard and really live by it. If you don’t believe that you can exceed the impossible then you probably just aren’t made to do it.
TCUS: Getting into a few songs, on “Banana” you mention “I’m scribing my living with curses, just wait till I get this shit perfect”. How do you intend to grow as an artist?
Isaiah Rashad: Repetition. All I did was practice all the time, write all the time. That’s how I got where I’m at. At some point I’ll get it perfect, to how I want to get it. At some point I’ll be satisfied with it. I’m satisfied right now but basically what it is, sometimes I don’t even feel satisfied with the stuff that I do. Just wait till I’m happy with my shit. Imagine how mind blowing it’s going for you. That was the mind state I was in at the time for that song.
TCUS: You mention on “Ronnie Drake” “Ain’t no gettin’ money on that conscious shit”. Do you feel that way per say?
Isaiah Rashad: When people bring it up, when I look at interviews and reviews and what people feel on music I feel like it’s always partnered with some conscious type of shit. Some aware type of shit. The general idea is though, being aware is like contrived with some unlimited amount of positivity and I feel like in rap, a whole bunch of positivity gets looked at on some “why you so happy?” type shit. You can’t really get no money just preaching to people, so I try not to preach to people. I’m going to try and give you a message but not preach to you.
TCUS: What’s one of the biggest things you’ve leaned since being with T.D.E?
Isaiah Rashad: Biggest thing I’ve learned is to just be an artist. Go through the motions, don’t be afraid to have these feelings that artist’s have, don’t be afraid to be unsure. That’s a part of creating. Everything that you feel and everything that you go through is just inspiration. Don’t take nothing for granted and take everything as what it is, on the mark. We could not be here right now. I could’ve not been doing this interview you know? Me having this interview with you today, that’s like some fortunate shit that could’ve not happened.
TCUS: So do you feel you fit in with the Hiii Power movement well?
Isaiah Rashad: Yeah I think I do. I definitely think I do. I think it was a real natural process.
TCUS: Lastly, if you could leave on memory behind with the people through your music, what would you want it to be?
Isaiah Rashad: I want to be that memory you have when you’re sitting with your girl. I want to be that music, that’s what I want you to remember. That song favorite song that you and your girl had. The shit you either put your girl on to or she showed you. I want to be that dude. I want to be the one you listen to when you’re sitting in the car smoking with your girl, or you’re sitting at the crib doing whatever. That’s the memory I’d want to have left, I want you to have a memory with somebody else that you can recall and be like “damn you remember this?”. Some nostalgic shit.
You can purchase Cilvia Demo off iTune’s here