“The weakest soul, knowing its own weakness and believing this truth that strength can only be developed by effort and practice, will thus believing at once, begin to exert itself and adding effort to effort, patience to patience, and strength to strength — will never cease to develop and will at last grow divinely strong.” — Excerpt From: Allen, James. “As A Man Thinketh.”

A man grows weak and hinders his progression when he fails to give in to self-discipline. Decrepit tactics can weigh down on the soul – years before old age can and divinely so, will. Although the inhibitions are of his own damage, the aftermath eventually reveals itself in other forms; trickling down in an unwanted settlement.

Settling isn’t in an ambitious man’s vocabulary. Nomadic in his/her life endeavors, stagnation never has a chance to settle in, nor does he/she continue to comply with the vices that distract their mental will. Once it’s figured out to a degree, they can begin to development a tenacious attitude to bettering self — the results will harvest and those that are around them can harbor in on the change and cash in, figuratively.

Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo carried me through 2014 up til’ now and will likely always find its way into my weekly rotation. However, I always craved new material from Isaiah; his hiatus affected me and his other fans as well.

To call Rashad weak? No, but it did help me see my own weaknesses and confront them. His battles helped me through some of my own. I am lucky to see his porch, but I do not know what his house looks like. All I saw was a man who wanted better in the midst of the sun beaming down.

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“I just know I got a bigger goal to do. I got example of the outcome of that shit is. I just don’t want to be one of those niggas.” — Isaiah Rashad

In September of 2015, we began to see the return of Spotty; “Nelly” kicked off the comeback of Isaiah. The tempo of the Antydote, Jowin and Chris Calor-produced track felt symbolic to the ease of production that Isaiah was creating — making his way back into sonic labor — slow but assertive, paced yet toned. More music was coming, but we didn’t know when, exactly. It was mid-Jan 2016 when “Smile” was released. Although the cut didn’t make the album, the song’s vibe and Isaiah’s cadence found it’s way throughout majority of The Sun’s Tirade. “Tity & Dolla” and “Wat’s Wrong” are fine examples of that. All three of these songs stick out to me — not because of Isaiah flowing effortlessly well but the meaning behind the lyrics. Isaiah was shifting his energy into a more productive mindset and disciplining himself — the evidence seeks comfort in the lyrics.

I won’t lose my grip, ‘fore I turn Cobain
It look good next year, yeah — Isaiah Rashad — “Smile”

Beat me down, you beat me down, reorganize my face
Now when I go home, I don’t know what my fam gon’ say
 — Isaiah Rashad — “Wat’s Wrong”

Gotta consider my liver my nigga
Gotta get rid of my kidney my nigga
That was the only thing holding me back — Isaiah Rashad — “Tity & Dolla”

Rashad was held back, but it did not stop his movement. Once he gained control, there was no stopping him and he’s still going, stronger than ever. Discipline kicked in and stood its ground.

I cannot sit here and type this as if I know Zaywop’s life. Shit, I feel creepy even using his nickname. However, through his music, I’ve garnered my own relationship with him, which gets me closer to him as a person. Lyrically, Isaiah is bona fide and encrypts gems into his work.

The wait was more than worth it for The Sun’s Tirade, but another huge time frame of waiting? I think not — coming from Isaiah himself.

Since wrapping up his Lil Sunny Tour, Isaiah has been vocal to show his commitment to his fans. “I’m officially giving myself to my supporters,” Rashad told DJ Booth through text and then taking to Twitter to say “No more projects every 2 yrs. I’ma hang with ya’ll for a while this chapter.”

 Rashad has overall grown as a person and that can be felt and heard from his music to his interviews and also his interactions with his fans. He’s learned to save money, he’s preparing to buy his family a crib, gaining happiness, getting his friend a new job he’s happy about, flying his whole family out to L.A. and valuing life. He reflected on mishap but didn’t dwell and realized that he’s truly turned his life around.

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After crying in a bathroom to Kid Cudi’s “The Prayer,” Isaiah realized that he needed to do music rather than enter the Navy; he exited a reality he couldn’t picture himself in and found an entrance into the music industry. The path to reaching this point in his happiness and success was offset by roadblocks and personal growth. Going back home to Chatanooga with more success and a reputable platform to reach goals is a reason for Isaiah to smile. There was a time when he woke up in the mornings and felt like he didn’t need to be here but drive kicked in and plowed ahead. Not only were there personal goals to be met, he had people that needed him, especially his kids.

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We can celebrate the fact that we don’t have to wait another two years for new music from the 25-year-old wordsmith. We can celebrate that Isaiah has sharpened his sword for life and is ready to take more stabs. Now off the bench and ready to shoot more shots at his goals, Isaiah is a MVP in his own right. I can smile knowing that he’s happy and ready to flourish more. Let’s see where his journey takes him next.