After five years of silence, Isaiah Rashad returned with what will surely be considered one of the best rap albums of 2021: The House is Burning. The project chronicles a search for hope after hitting rock bottom, with warm, nostalgic rhythms occasionally destabilized by lurching, gothic undertones.
Drawing on influences such as Three 6 Mafia, Outkast and his Top Dawg label mate Kendrick Lamar, Rashad wrote the album after several bad years of substance abuse and mental health issues that forced him to disappear from public life and eventually get clean. He writes with the sage perspective of someone who’s been to hell and back, finding beauty even amid these traumatic experiences, and managing to still have fun.
Rashad performs at The Warfield in San Francisco on Oct. 7.