When quality-over-quantity rap label Top Dawg Entertainment teased a new release last week, most fans’ minds went right to the label’s heaviest hitters, Kendrick Lamar and SZA. But there was a smaller, vocal subsection of followers clamoring for new music from Chattanooga rapper Isaiah Rashad, who near-disappeared after releasing his debut album, The Sun’s Tirade, in 2016. Turns out they were right — today brings a new Rashad song, “Lay Wit Ya,” the lead single off his long-awaited sophomore album, The House Is Burning. “Lay Wit Ya” is a surprising party track from a rapper known for his more interior, emotional work; in a new cover story, Rashad told the Fader, “I just wanted this shit to sound fun.” The song comes with an energetic feature from Memphis rapper Duke Deuce and a post-pandemic party dream of a music video.
In that Fader cover, Rashad opened up about dealing with alcoholism and spending problems after his 2017 tour, and struggling for years to record his Sun’s Tirade follow-up. Eventually, he said, he went to Top Dawg about his drinking and spending in spring 2019, and began treatment at a California rehab center. After he left rehab, Rashad said, he also caught up on new rap, along with learning to freestyle from hip-hop producer Kenny Beats. Rashad cut many slow songs from The House Is Burning and hinted at releasing them later. “If I’m sad, people don’t need to be able to tell,” he added. “And this is probably my most depressing album.” The House Is Burning is set to come out in June.