In late September Vibe reported that Top Dawg Entertainment—aka the home of Kendrick Lamar and his Black Hippy cohorts Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Jay Rock—signed Tennessee rapper Isaiah Rashad. Rumors that Rashad had inked a deal with TDE began circulating online over the summer, and occasionally I’d stumble upon blog posts that fed into the hype around the MC and the supposed deal without shedding much light on the actual guy—Pigeons & Planes, for example, published a bare-bones slideshow that didn’t go much deeper than mentioning his social network accounts and music taste. That post did link to a 2012 interview with Chicago blog See Beyond Genre, which includes an interesting bit about his relationship with local rapper Dikembe Caston, aka Kembe X:
We met over twitter and he dissed my music over an email. He’s the only artist to give me criticism over my flows. We met in February and ever since then we’ve been brothers. I’m closer to him musically than anyone. We go through the same things.
Last year Caston brought Rashad into his rap crew, the Village; Rashad’s ReverbNation profile mentions his membership in the Village, which he reps in a song called “2x Pills” (“And till the sun set, roll another blunt for my real nigga Kembe / I’m not only the leader but I follow the Village / I swear them niggas is killing it in Chicago”). Early this year Rashad appeared on Caston’s Soundtrack II Armageddon EP, rapping on a tune called “Die For It” alongside BRKF$T Club rapper-producer and former Stones Throw artist Julian Malone. Last month Rashad dropped some rhymes in TDE’s BET cypher and released a remix of a track called “I Shot You Down,” which includes Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q, and with his rising profile I imagine more hip-hop heads will dig into his past and get pulled into the Village’s orbit.
Rashad isn’t the only rapper bringing Caston’s collective to new audiences; just yesterday Vibe premiered “Woozy,” a tune from glossy UK pop-rock outfit Glass Animals that features Village member Jean Deaux. The local rapper-singer is just about the only thing that keeps the airy number from wafting away at points, and her luxurious voice and cool performance have me eager to hear more of her own tracks. Fake Shore Drive founder Andrew Barber points out that Deaux has a debut mixtape in the works called Soular System, and here’s hoping it’ll come out soon. Until then take a listen to “Woozy” below and head to Deaux’s Soundcloud page for a handful of songs.