Cilvia Demo

Cilvia Demo

-Album Reviewed By Jacob Kresovich

Isaiah Rashad, out of Chattanooga, TN, released his much anticipated debut album Cilvia Demo on January 28, 2014. He is currently signed to the California-based Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) record label. Other notable artists signed to TDE include Schoolboy Q, Kendrick Lamar and Ab-Soul. Rashad is in good company and his style fits in nicely with that of his colleagues. Although Rashad is one of the younger talents on TDE, his presence in the music industry has been expected for some time. In late 2013, HipHopDX declared him the runner up for the “Rising star of the Year” award. He has also been recognized by Complex and XXL this year, with the latter naming in to the 2014 Freshman Class. This list features other well-known young lyricists: Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, Lil Bibby and Lil Durk (all out of Chicago), along with others from around the country.

Cilvia Demo opens with ‘Hereditary’ which mimics the west-coast, mellow style of the ‘Black Hippy’ members of TDE. Rashad opens with “My daddy taught me how to drink my pain away/ My daddy taught me how to leave somebody” in his first verse. Are these tough-skinned skills essential to Manhood? Rashad’s tone doesn’t lament the hard-learned lessons his father imparted to him when he abandoned his son at a young age. On the contrary, Rashad presents his unfortunate and deprived schooling as matters of fact—something that cannot and will not be changed about his personality.

Later in the album, Rashad delivers another smooth and sedated tune with ‘West Savannah.’ In the hook of this song, Rashad gives a nod to one of his main musical influences, Outkast, with the rhyme “Now can we fall in love while/ Southernplayalistic banging through the night,” referencing Outkast’s debut album Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik. Unlike ‘Hereditary,’ earlier in the album, this song focuses on young love and the risks one takes, often foolishly, to be with the object of his or her affection. Rashad sings “I will travel for you” / “battle for you” reminding the listener of the stubbornness that often accompanies young love.

In the track ‘Heavenly Father’ Rashad begins to reconcile with God as well as with his absent father. The song repeats the question “Heavenly Father, why are you so far away?” offering two possible interpretations for whom the title of the song is addressed. In the third verse on this track, Rashad drops his silver-tongued style of flow, adopting a blunt tone as the beat fades. He begins rhyming a cappella about his problems with drinking and smoking weed, struggling with his fear that he will die young.

Rashad has said that Cilvia Demo is meant to be an album that you can “just vibe out to.” He delivers. The music covers a wide range of topics stirring up childhood memories to which audiences will relate, and analyzing old scars. Engrossing lyrics reveal a therapeutic tool that Rashad has used to overcome his uncertainty and assert his self-esteem. He treats listeners to a rich, deep and thoughtful expression of his struggle and triumph in the face of abandonment. The artist is immensely talented and this EP will put any doubts about him to rest.


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