Isaiah Rashad's Cilvia Demo was freakin' majestic. The TDE signee's debut album swam in a warm nonchalance, Rashad's profundity weaving through a honky-tonk hip-hop all his own. From "Tranquility" to "Heavenly Father," Rashad had arrived, confessional and reverential.
It was not what you'd expect from a rapper that far south of the Mason-Dixon. But Rashad's Chattanooga roots don't necessarily make him a Southern rapper. Chattanooga is about two hours north of Atlanta, a small city of about 200,000 where hip-hop has often played second fiddle to country music.
That seemingly small separation allowed him to find inspiration across the map: Rashad's cited influences range from Atlanta to New Orleans and L.A., with nods to Outkast ("West Savannah"), Master P ("R.I.P. Kevin Miller," Percy's brother), and the frequent appearances of Rashad's new T.D.E. teammates.
Rashad said the album went through a lot of phases: “At first it was going to be like eight tracks of one-and-a-half-minutes, just verses. Then it was going to be some alternative, black-power shit. Then it was going to be some eclectic-alien shit. Then it was going to be some Southern-banging shit." It ended up being a little bit of everything, and could be considered a modern classic as a result.
The followup to Cilvia Demo is in the works: In a recent interview with Complex, Rashad said he's eager to move beyond Cilvia: "I gotta get 'em off that shit," he said. "That’s why I’m home right now. I’m trying to get 'em on the shit I’m on now."