Exclaim!'s Top 15 Hip-Hop Albums Best of 2016



 
13. Isaiah Rashad
The Sun's Tirade
(Top Dawg Entertainment)
 
Released in the dawg days of summer, The Sun's Tirade is for indoor cats like Earl Sweatshirt, who find doing shit and going outside generally unappealing. It's more thematically consistent than 2014's sketched-out Cilvia Demo, as he uses the "sun/son" homonym to make sense of how his struggle with inter-generational addiction has impacted his own role as a parent.
 
At age 25, Rashad is already describing his life as a sort of cautionary tale, trying to break the cycle of drugs and depression without getting too far ahead of himself. Showcasing some of this year's most impressive features from Kendrick Lamar, SZA and Jay Rock, The Sun's Tirade is a highly accomplished work of paternal wisdom.        
 
TDE's woefully underrated in-house producers paint gorgeous instrumentals with a hazy late-afternoon feel that underscores Rashad's deceptively nonchalant flow, as sunlight spills through the curtains. Despite the record's laid-back, downtempo pacing, he never fails to sound sharp and lucid here. It's not a celebration of his self-destructive lifestyle so much as an unraveling revelation: Rashad's "gotta consider [his] liver" and ultimately "make the bottle go away."
Cole Firth