One of the most hotly anticipated releases in hip-hop history is just around the corner, as Isaiah Rashad has finally announced his new album The House Is Burning. It’s slated for a June release, and Zay is offering an early taste with the new single “Lay Wit Ya” featuring Duke Deuce.
Rashad’s legend owes a little to his 2014 debut Cilvia Demo and a lot to his 2016 magnum opus The Sun’s Tirade. Five years ago he seemed poised on the cusp of superstardom, but instead of following in the footsteps of his TDE label-mate Kendrick Lamar, he disappeared. Call him the Prodigal Sun.
As he explained in a new interview with The Fader, he lost himself in drugs and alcohol. “I was doing whatever I could to escape,” he said. “I admittedly liked the feeling of being numb. Everything that ain’t good for me. Being out in L.A. without anything anchoring me down fucked me up. You can float off out here. You can get lost in this bitch.”
What once was lost has now been found. Newly sober, or at least the closest approximation that California has to offer (he smokes weed), Rashad found a new freedom in working with Kenny Beats, who he called his “rap coach.”
“There was always something in the way that he veiled his metaphors and the way he brought you into this non-TDE story that had TDE depth,” Beats said. “He’s very intelligent and feels things in a really empathetic way, yet it’s car-ready and so quintessentially Southern. His music feels familiar and nostalgic, yet I can’t point to anything I know that sounds like it.”
Beats produced two tracks on The House Is Burning, which is one of the few details known about the project at the time of this writing. Zay also shared the central metaphor behind the album. “God’s not going to save you,” he said. “I mean, he can. Because I believe in God. But God alone is not going to save you. The world’s on fire. The water is polluted, there’s so much CO2 pouring into the ozone. But when you take it to a micro level…when your house is on fire, are you going to go into that bitch to get the personal possessions, or are you just going to trust in yourself and in God that you’re going to be able to bounce back?”
Rashad is bouncing back in a big way with “Lay Wit Ya”, his comeback single featuring Memphis rapper Duke Deuce. The track is a windows down, volume up banger, aided by a sample of Three 6 Mafia’s “Ridin’ N’ Da Chevy”. Here, Rashad leads with his flow, luxuriating in irresistible rhythmic ideas. He raps, “Big wheel got that motherfucker skatin’ hard/ Chill pill got me high but cannot lay with ya/ Last year, you was my bitch, now you my baby girl,” and he does this with such a delicious slur that “hard”, “ya”, and “girl” all rhyme. Check out “Lay Wit Ya” below.
Last year, Isaiah Rashad released his first new song in four years, “Why Worry”.