It’s 9 AM on a Sunday.
I wake up in a fog greeted by strewn about PBR cans, empty Gatorade bottles and the wrapper to whatever food I managed to get my hands last night; usually it’s a microwavable pizza or, if I’m unlucky, 7-11 taquito wrappers. As I lie on my friend's couch and wait for either death or a surge of energy (both of which feel equally as possible), I listen.
It’s 9:45 PM on a Tuesday.
I just got home from another exhausting night of indoor soccer. Shit, I even went to the gym after playing; basically I’m MJ. Before I can eat, before I can shower, before I can even take off my stanky socks, I need 20 minutes just to sit. So I listen.
It’s I Have No Idea What Time on a Thursday.
I just woke up on a flight and I have no idea where I am, what time zone I’m in or how long until we land. I start to panic because not only can I not sleep anymore, but I have no idea how long until I can get off this plane. Oh well, I'll just sit back and relax. So I listen.
When I'm hungover or tired or partying or smoking or bored or happy I listen to that perfect song, that perfect album, that beat that gets me through. I listen to Isaiah Rashad’s Cilvia Demo.
There are very few albums I have played as much or as loud as Cilvia. Like a pregnant lady’s thirst for mustard and pickles, I get random cravings for “Soliloquy” seemingly out of nowhere. At least twice during a True Detective episode I say, “Man that Vince Vaughn is a funny cat.” Sure, none of my friends get the joke, but I do. Honestly, I'm still shocked by the project; I mean who is this guy, right? A debut project, an introduction (sounds weird to say that now, I feel like we’re roommates) that has a shelf life nearing two years? How often does that happen? And most impressively, even though one-fifth of the songs on my iTunes Top 25 played are Rashad, I still have that same feeling from my first listen, which feels like years ago...because it has been. That's right, when Cilvia dropped, Macklemore had just beaten Kendrick at the GRAMMYs. In the internet world, that’s a long time ago. In the real world that's a long time. And after this many listens I'm no longer asking who Rashad is, I'm asking another question.
I’ve been so caught up in the EP, I’ve never even really thought about what the future holds for Rashad, but a month or two ago I was in the shower listening to the EP (Is that weird? I feel like that might be weird.) and for the first time, I thought about how Rashad is going to follow this album up. Back then there was (relatively) no pressure. For the most part Rashad was an unknown. Now? There are a lot of people like me who now consider themselves Rashad fans. He is so personal on the project, it’s hard not to feel like you already know him, but what if this new project shows a different side of him? Music reflects the attitudes, feelings, and thoughts of the artist - clearly it’s one of Rashad’s strong suits - but I’d have to imagine his life is in a different place. He can’t make another Cilvia because of Cilvia. All the tours, festivals, fans, groupies, money and music industry adventures have undoubtedly changed him. It’s not a bad thing, that’s life, but I have to admit I’m worried.
As if the future wasn’t scary enough for a 26-year-old blogger.
So what is next? I broke out my little internet detective kit, but I couldn't find much. Rashad is pretty enigmatic. His Instagrams are sporadic and his tweets are mostly TDE merch. And speaking of TDE, he’s notably absent in Kendrick’s "Alright" video, he’s never had a song with K. Dot period, and with the exception of the "Shot You Down (Remix)" he’s never really been connected to Black Hippy. He does, however, seem to be close with TDE's other new signing, SZA. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m curious, does he smoke with Q and Dre? It only adds to the intrigue and the mystery. What’s his endgame? Where’s he headed?
I reached out for a comment from Rashad about the future and, as expected, I got no response (because what’s to gain from spilling the beans to an overzealous blogger?). All I could really gather is he’s working on something bigger with SZA (peep the AMA) and according to his manager, his new project is “amazing,” although that's not exactly an unbiased source. Other than that...there’s not much to go on. He’s been quiet...too quiet. In over a year now we haven't heard a single song, not even a guest verse, and as much as I love Cilvia, it feels like time for something new. I’m not on the level of sending him gifs everyday, I’m not going to poop myself if there’s a leak rumor, but it feels like it's time. It’s not Surf-level anticipation yet, but you can hear the whispers. Music fame and glory are fleeting. One minute you have the people debating your work and the next they’ve moved on to the next promising debut. I’d hate to see Rashad become the best they never heard.
But that’s just me imposing my feelings, my arc, onto his life and his music. I don’t know Rashad, I don’t know the inner-workings of TDE, and I doubt he’s simply winging it. Maybe I'm confusing not participating with being MIA. So, like waking up on a plane, I’m forced to sit and wait patiently with no idea what’s coming or when it’s coming. It’ll be here, I just don’t know when.
If only I had something to listen to as I wait...
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]