Isaiah Rashad The Depot September 26, 2021
Reviewed by Justin Lagman
Isaiah Rashad’s Lil’ Sunny’s Awesome Vacation Tour has finally made its stop in Salt Lake City and I couldn’t be more excited to document this tour. I have been following Isaiah’s musical journey since the first time I saw him on stage with Compton legend and one of the best rappers ever, Kendrick Lamar. This was my first time seeing Isaiah Rashad in over 8 years and I’m genuinely excited for him to showcase his new album The House Is Burning.
Salt Lake City has fully transitioned into fall and outdoor concerts are about over. I’m excited to be shooting at one of my favorite venues in Utah, The Depot. I feel extremely comfortable shooting at this venue and this staff usually takes care of everyone. The show had a huge variety of fans ranging from old to new Isaiah fans. The venue was jam packed. The adults kept the bartenders busy while the main floor had a line for the artist merchandise.
The artist all had their own DJ’s and the first act was Ray Vaughn. TDE record label is far past the days of Kendrick and his crew. TDE now has a roster full of young and hungry artists wanting to claim the throne. Ray Vaughn is the newest artist signed by the rap label. Ray has a lot to prove. He follows the path of heavy hitter artist. He stepped onto the stage with charisma and plenty of energy. A brand new artist in my ears but he was an easy listen. He performed only a few songs, but every song was kept the crowd’s hands raised and dancing to this music.
He performed his newest single from his first EP under the label titled “Peer Pressure.” He took a couple moments in between songs to tell stories about his upbringing and a little bit of comedic relief when he talked about being toxic. I have never seen a lot of rappers that have a side of humor so it was refreshing to see Ray Vaughn be himself and tell hilarious stories about his songs.
Ray Vaughn was a fireball to watch on stage. You knew he was happy and excited to just perform and share his craft. He has a bright future in the industry if he keeps going in his ascent. Maybe one day he’ll headline his own tour and make a stop here in Salt Lake again!
The night was getting warm and fans that have been standing by the barricade were anxious to get closer and closer to the following act. The next act before Isaiah was another artist that was new on my radar. A little background on Childish Major is that he used to be a producer for many Dreamville artists. Childish Major made the transition to being a full-time artist in between 2016-2018. Featuring in songs with well established artists like J. Cole and Isaiah Rashad, Major was definitely on the right path for an artist.
Major’s DJ had the crowd back in the mix of the party after a long break in between artists. Major unexpectedly ran in during one of the DJ’s songs. He entered the stage with a lot of energy. He didn’t have any flashy outfit but more of a hiking outfit and the only thing that matters was that he was comfortable.
During the second song, his backing track got cut off and the DJ looked extremely stressed. But with an artist like Major and the experience he has working with some of the best, he was able to freestyle acapella to finish the song. I think these moments are a make or break moment for an artist. It is a tough situation to handle. I was highly impressed with how he kept the crowd involved and made sure the attention was on him. He used the time to introduce himself and talk about his journey to where he’s at now. A couple minutes passed and the music still wasn’t back.
Childish Major somehow got everyone to inhale and exhale 3 times. During the last exhale he raises his arm all the way up and once his arm came down the beat back in for his song. I was not expecting that save and I was really impressed with the chemistry he had with his DJ. Same thing with Ray Vaughn, Major also didn’t have a lot of songs but they were the right amount to keep the crowd engaged. He performed one of his top hits “Disrespectful,” and brought his friends out on stage to dance and party with each other. Childish Major was amazing despite the technical difficulties, I would love to see him again and watch him perform a lot more of his songs!
The time had come and the main man was on his way up to the stage. His DJ played party hits that everyone knew to keep the excitement brewing up. The bars were busy once again as the fans needed more cocktails.
Isaiah stepped out casually and calmly. The Tennessee rapper has always had a relaxed energy and he still carries that same energy years later. It’s the style that he has developed collaborating with rappers like Kendrick Lamar and the rest of the TDE crew. The raspy and endless flows paired up with deep heartfelt lyricism is a signature sound for the crew.
Isaiah has a very niche fan base and the newest album was a long time coming for the fans. He opened up with “Darkseid,” which is a story about a gangster’s life out of the hood. “Whatever is gonna keep my kids safe and my kids full I’m with it.” was a repeating line in the song. It shows you the growth of a man and moving past the dangerous gang life. Right after, he introduced himself and mentioned a couple house rules for his show. One is to respect each other’s space. Second is to keep a positive energy.
The lighting during his set was amazing even though the stage setup wasn’t anything elaborate. Rashad didn’t need a crazy stage setup. The only thing that stood out to me was his music videos played in the background. I have to salute his videographer and directors for putting together eye catching visuals. The energy in the building was absolutely through the roof. He went on the play some of his classics. He played one of my favorites “Shot You Down.” I consider this song a classic Isaiah Rashad hit. A timeless masterpiece that is very underappreciated by today’s generation. I think that hip hop should be simple sometimes. It is the perfect recipe for a chill and relaxing night.
Isaiah was better than ever before. To be able to witness him as the main act was a true blessing. His stage presence takes me back to the first few times I watched hip hop shows live. I’m a true fan of the whole TDE crew and I can’t wait for his journey to keep growing. There are so many more stories to tell about his life’s journey and I’m looking forward to it.