Album Review | Isaiah Rashad – The House Is Burning

This album was released on July 30th this year. Isaiah Rashad released one of my favorite extended plays of 2014 with Cilvia Demo; I immediately became a fan of him for his smooth songs and thoughtful lyricism. I enjoyed his 2016 project, The Sun’s Tirade, but to a lesser extent just because I found the lyricism to be far less interesting. I’m hoping this’ll be a return to the more well written style he had on Cilvia Demo, but I’m not gonna get my hopes up. I’m expecting this to be a collection of really chill, melodic songs. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it to some extent. It’s probably worth noting that this album comes after a five year gap between releases for Isaiah, so there’s a lot of hype for it. From what little I’ve seen, it looks like fans are satisfied, so that’s a good sign.

As always, I’ll write about the songs that I actually enjoyed before getting into the material that I won’t be returning to. The first song that I actually like on this album is called RIP YOUNG. I think the smooth production from Kal Banx is pretty great. That’s kind of the only reason I like the song to be honest. I just think the beat is really nice. Isaiah’s performance over it doesn’t really stand out at all to me. His flow was pretty standard, and he isn’t the lyricist he used to be. I think he sounds good on the beat though. Not everything has to be super lyrical to be enjoyable. It’s a smooth track that I can have on in the background, but it’s not something that really captures my attention, ya know? It’s a cool track though. I like it. Track 4 is called Lay wit Ya, and I really didn’t like it when I first heard it as a single.

I found the track to be really boring when it originally dropped, but it grew on me. I think it’s more entertaining in the context of the full album. It’s got one of the hardest beats on the album, and I think the hook is pretty good. The first verse from Isaiah is kind of a snoozefest, but the guest feature from Duke Deuce kinda saves the song. He really stole the show here. It’s not even that his performance is particularly great; it’s just way better than that of Zay. Duke Deuce actually had an interesting flow and an energetic delivery. Overall, it’s still far from my favorite song on the album, but I enjoy it more than I originally did. I think it’s pretty solid. The following track is called Claymore, and I think it’s one of the better songs on the album. I like the really melodic, R&B-esque production from Kal Banx, J.LBS & Groove. The sung hook is pretty nice too, and I actually really like the first verse from Isaiah. Again, the lyrics pretty much just go in one ear and out the other, but I found his melodic delivery to be pretty entertaining. The real star of the show here is Smino though. He really stole the show on that second verse in my opinion. Again, it’s not really anything special lyrically, but he had a much more energetic delivery. There was a sense of urgency in his performance that was missing from that of Isaiah Rashad. Again, it’s one of the better songs on the album in my opinion. I think it’s dope. Headshots (4r da Locals) is another dope single.

The production from Henry Was & Hollywood Cole is smooth as hell, and I love the sung hook. Zay’s chill, melodic delivery is nice, and I actually thought he had a pretty good flow as well. The lyrics still aren’t very interesting, but aside from that I think his performance was very good. It’s a dope song. The following track is called All Herb. I was hoping this song would just be about shmoking weed, but that unfortunately isn’t the case. It’s still a good song though. I like the dreamy production from Devin Malik, and the hook from Isaiah Rashad is okay. Once again, the actual verse from him kinda just goes in one ear and out the other, although I did think the line about John Cena was kinda cool. The second verse is performed by a singer named Amindi. I thought she was okay. I don’t think she’s a bad singer at all, but the actual melody and flow of what she performed didn’t really do much for me. I do like the song overall though. I think it’s pretty good. It’s followed by Hey Mista. I really like Kal Banx’s production on this track, and I love the hook from Isaiah Rashad. Unfortunately, nothing else about the song really stands out to me. I don’t think the verses on this track are very good. I mean, the second one is cool I guess. The first one sucks. It’s definitely not one of my favorite songs on the album, but I do enjoy it to some extent. The hook and beat are good enough to make me return to the track. I think it’s pretty good overall. The following track is called True Story, and it features Jay Rock & Jay Worthy. I think Devin Malik’s production is pretty cool here. The first verse from Isaiah Rashad is nothing special. It’s fine I guess. It really did nothing for me at all, but I didn’t mind it. Jay Rock really stole the show on that second verse though. That happens a lot on this album by the way. I feel like a lot of the features smoked Isaiah Rashad on his own songs. That’s not really the case with Jay Worthy though. His verse wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say he really outdid Isaiah Rashad. The hook features an uncredited performance from Amindi, who did a pretty decent job in my opinion. Once again, the melody isn’t super entertaining to me, but it’s not bad. I think the song is pretty good overall. It’s followed by Wat U Sed, which was my favorite single from the album.

I love the smooth, wavy production from Kal Banx, Rory Behr & Amaire Johnson, and the first verse from Isaiah Rashad is pretty good. Again, I have to stress that the lyrics are nothing special. I just think he sounded pretty good. He had a nice flow, and his melodic delivery sounded good. The hook from Kal Banx is pretty solid. Remember when I said the features smoked Isaiah Rashad on this album? Iamdoechii stole the show on this track. I have no idea who she is, but she fucking killed her verse. That’s easily my favorite moment on the whole album. Her melodic delivery and bouncy flow just sound super catchy. She has a great voice. I think she murdered this song. Again, the lyrics go in one ear and out the other, but the shit is still fire. I think it’s the best song on the whole album to be honest. It’s a really fun record. I think it’s dope as hell. The following track is entitled Don’t Shoot. Once again, the production is very smooth. I think it’s dope. I also love the background vocals on the hook. They sound really nice. Unfortunately neither of the verses from Isaiah really stood out to me that much, but they were sufficient. I still enjoyed the song. The verses aren’t bad at all. They just aren’t particularly good to me. I think the great production and catchy hook make the song worth returning to though. I also love how jazzy the outro of this song is. It’s a good track. It’s followed by Chad.

This song was kind of disappointing to me. I think YGTUT sounded really great on the first verse, but he only spit like 8 bars. I was hoping for a more substantial feature from him because I feel like he would’ve really stolen the show if he was given the spotlight for longer. What he gave us is still very good though. I think his flow was really nice, and his delivery sounded really good too. The lyrics were nothing special, but I’ve never really looked at YGTUT as much of a lyricist. I think Zay sounds alright on the verses, but the song kinda just fades into the background for me once YGTUT is done. Isaiah’s delivery can be a bit too smooth sometimes. It’s nice to have as background music though. I’m sure this would be a great song to smoke weed to. The highlight of the song for me was YGTUT, but the rest of it is cool too. I think it’s pretty good. 9-3 Freestyle is a little better. I think Isaiah’s delivery stands out a bit more on this track, and his flow is actually pretty nice. The lyrics aren’t great. I found it kinda odd when he said “suck on my Benjamins.” Is “Benjamins” slang for cock? I’ve never heard that before in my life. Suck on my Benjamins. Strange. Anyway, the song is pretty good to me overall, although far from a favorite of mine. I think it’s a cool track though. The next song that I like is the last song, HB2U. I love the soulful production, and Isaiah was actually rapping pretty goddamn well here. The lyricism isn’t amazing or anything, but it’s just nice to hear him rap with some more energy. His flow was nice, and same goes for his delivery. I unfortunately don’t really care for the second part of this track, which is basically it’s own song. It’s just kind of boring to me. I just feel like it lasts a bit too long. It’s about twice as long as it needs to be. Overall the track is pretty good though. As far as songs I don’t like, I wouldn’t say any of them are actually bad. They just don’t really stand out to me in a good way. The first song on the album is called Darkseid, and it has some chill production from Devin Malik. I just find Isaiah’s performance to be really boring. Absolutely nothing about it stands out to me. His flow is fine, and the lyrics are inoffensive at best. It’s just kind of a bland way to start the album. It’s an okay track though I guess. It’s followed by From the Garden. This track has a pretty cool Trap beat from Banshee the Great, Kal Banx & Keanu Beats. I unfortunately just really don’t care for Isaiah’s sporadic flow on this track. It just sounds really annoying to me. I don’t care for the repetitive hook on this track either. It just irritated me. The second verse from Lil Uzi Vert was of course trash lyrically, but his flow was tolerable I suppose. The third verse from Isaiah Rashad is easily the best moment on the song. His flow is way better at this point. It’s not good enough to save the song though. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad track, but it’s just very mediocre to me. Score features SZA & 6LACK, and has production from Kal Banx & Kenny Beats. I think the production is pretty nice, and the sung hook from Isaiah is decent. The first verse is okay I guess. Zay’s melodic delivery sounds good. I just don’t really care for the features to be honest. SZA’s vocals just sound a bit too clean to me, and I’ve never been a fan of 6LACK. Nothing about the song stands out in an especially bad way though, so I wouldn’t say it’s wack or anything. It’s just decent to me. I also unfortunately didn’t care for the title track, THIB. I like the chill production from TIGGI & Free P, but aside from that nothing about the song stands out. The first verse from Zay is pretty boring, and the second verse is only marginally better. It’s one of the weakest songs on the album in my opinion. I still wouldn’t say it’s a bad song to me though. It’s just mediocre.

This is an okay album, but I have to say that I’m personally really disappointed with the direction in which Isaiah Rashad’s music has gone. He’s turned into a Southern Alex Wiley. He’s not putting the same emphasis on lyricism that he did on Cilvia Demo. He’s more focused on just making chill, mellow, wavy music that you can shmoke weed to and have a good time with. I’m happy for him since he sounds like he’s in a much better place mentally, but it’s just unfortunate that his songs are nowhere near as interesting lyrically. With that said, I did enjoy the majority of the material here to some extent. He still has a pretty good ear for beats, and almost all of the features came through and really outdid Isaiah. This album is mostly gonna be played in the background since it doesn’t require active listening to be fully enjoyed. I think fans will probably enjoy this if they liked The Sun’s Tirade because it’s basically more of that sound. With that said, this is my least favorite project from Isaiah Rashad. It’s decent though.

Favorite Song: Wat U Sed
Least Favorite Song: From the Garden


Watch the video below for more thoughts on this album.

Grade: C+

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