Adequate production, majestic kid. All of these beats are just basic drums and thick reverb, which means you’re going to miss great lines loaded with internal rhymes and pop culture references throughout this unnecessarily long EP/mixtape unless you’re really paying attention. And speaking of the length, Isaiah Rashad is really trying to position himself as the new Kendrick Lamar, huh? Not only do they have similar voices (close your eyes to the first line of “Webbe Flow (U Like)”), but they also have similar worldviews, namely against racism and alcohol. The best song here is the one that has been available for a while now: “Shot You Down,” with its flute hook throughout. Though both Jay Rock and ScHoolboy Q offer good verses (with Q doing better than Jay Rock, surprisingly), producers Chris Calor and the Antydote can’t juggle all three rappers for 7 minutes; the beat switch during Jay Rock’s verse didn’t do much of anything at all.
If 2012 was the year that TDE burst out the gates, then 2014 was the year that TDE revealed itself to be another label whose legacy rests in the hands of a single artist – Kendrick Lamar. Elsewhere, ScHoolboy Q lost himself to promises of money by the mainstream; Ab-Soul lost himself to weed; Jay Rock stayed typically silent and other new label-mate SZA (who appears on two tracks here singing amelodically for both) didn’t make a big enough splash with her own debut EP/mixtape. But if Isaiah Rashad is the new Kendrick Lamar, then I’m not willing to write him off just yet; just this one overhyped and overrated release.