Isaiah Rashad

Cilvia: Demo

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Coming out of Chattanooga, Tennessee with a style much wiser than his 22 years would suggest, rapper Isaiah Rashad makes his official debut with Cilvia: Demo, a strange and wonderful EP with some minor reservations. Here, Rashad combines the eye-level view lyrics of Kendrick Lamar with challenging music that takes cloud-rap to another, more abstract level. "I Shot You Down" is the boldest example, with complaints of growing up in an area where the "role models, so hollow" before the rapper erupts in a "you can suck my d*ck!" moment that stings like few others, a learned/gangsta mash-up that's repeated elsewhere and could be considered the theme of this EP. Problem is, it is an EP, and an oddly cumbersome one at 11 tracks, and with "demo" stuck on the cover, the scattershot flow of the release and the insider feel of it all is explained, although maybe not entirely excused. Easy access it's not, but track by track, this is excellence and an appetite-whetting experience worth any progressive hip-hop fan's attention.

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