Isaiah Dreads – the young artist who’s about to make 2016 his year

Isaiah Dreads is an 18-year-old rapper who’s about to take the industry by storm. Here’s why I think he’s going to be untouchable this year.

by Ben Freeman

Even those that are UK based, many hip-hop fans will be unaware of the talent possessed by the blossoming artist. 2 years ago he was virtually unknown; however now, he’s becoming more popular by the day. With flawless performances at Leeds and Reading festival in the summer of 2015, and a hotly anticipated ‘fire in the Booth’ awaiting release, the trend of his growing popularity is one that will only grow in a spectacular way. A metamorphosis is about to go down for the young artist – he’s a breath of fresh air for the UK hip-hop scene!

I first heard Isaiah when a clip of him spitting got shared onto my timeline on facebook, little over 2 years ago. He was only 16 at the time but despite this, his flow was impeccable. Stupidly, I left the clip without noting down the rapper’s name. The next appearance I saw from Isaiah came in the form of a post on a facebook group I’m also part of (shoutout the basement). The post regarded details of his planned summer performances at Leeds and Reading fest. Given that I was attending Leeds fest, I was eager to check him out. At the time, I was unknowing that it was the same rapper I had seen months prior – but when he began to spit, I instantly recognised I had rediscovered the rapper that had once blessed my timeline. Ever since I’ve been a huge fan.

Features of the 18-year-old’s music that seem to have (understandably) gained him a lot of attention are his snippets of reworked covers of prominent songs from recent years. From R. Kelly’s ‘ignition’, to ‘love yourself’ by Justin Bieber (which he later released a full version of), the variety subsumed into his portfolio of covers and remixes only highlights the adverse instrumentals he can rap over successfully. I mean, when you decide to rework and rap over a legendary beat like ‘ignition’, you’ve got to hard. Isaiah does exactly that. Clocking in at only 26 seconds long, the remix is certainly short but sweet – but it certainly left me wanting more. Even now I find myself replaying the clip 4 or 5 times over to alleviate the stress of the clip being under half a minute long. When he dropped the video on his twitter account, many were in awe and from the day it released his number of followers has skyrocketed.

“He’s young and he’s having fun with it.”

Being entirely honest, Isaiah reminds me very, very much of a young Mac Miller. Independent, dedicated and fresh. If I was being really critical, I’d say that his content is a little adolescent (a lot like Mac Miller in his earliest years) – but nonetheless, this takes nothing at all away from the excellence in lyricism and flow when delivering his content. I have every faith that it will evolve in due time – just comparing older tracks on his Soundcloud to his most recent, shows just how capable he is of improving and progressing.

He’s just recently released his newest mixtape, ‘Lights Go Green’. I’m a massive fan. Perhaps the most noticeable improvement in his newest work is the production and quality of the sampling. Virtually all the instrumentals of tracks he’s released of late have had an incredible, effervescent feel to them. The ability he’s demonstrated to implement such effective sampling should be respected. People don’t realise just how difficult producing music can be, but when you hear the penultimate track on the mixtape, ‘thankful’, you’ve really got to appreciate the excellence of the level of sampling. A huge amount of Hip-hop songs are built on the foundations of samples (you honestly wouldn’t believe how many tracks sample old music). But I find it incredible that so few producers are able to do it as seamlessly as the unsigned Isaiah samples “the impressions – people get ready”. It’s a song that is also sampled as the back bone of Game’s track, Bang along.

Above anything, he’s young and he’s having fun with it. This is something that shines through in almost all his tracks, and it’s great to be able to feel that vibe through an artists’ music. There will be no holding back Isaiah Dreads in 2016. Potential oozes out of every bar he spits and it’s only a matter of time before he becomes a figurehead for the UK hip-hop scene. After the success of his second independent mixtape, you can only presume that Isaiah’s time is now. He’s ready to take off. For the young rapper, the Lights truly have gone green.

For those who haven’t heard Isaiah’s music before, take a few minutes to introduce yourself with the tracks below:

Thankful ft. BenjaminAD – this is the track I discussed earlier in terms of his great ability to sample well which after you listen to, I’m sure you’ll agree. Isaiah also shows here that his music is a lot more than just rapping quickly and snappy punch lines. He illustrates how well he can tell a story by explaining his pursuit from a young rhymer to the rapper he is today.

Love yourself cover – although the recording may seem low quality, the cover itself is far from that. In this track he executes a change of flow really well on more than one occasion which is something a lot of well established artists struggle to do. The content here deals with the trials and tribulations of getting to where he wants to be which works very nicely over the acoustic beat.

family business remix – often I’m a sceptic of remixes so with this being the first cover I saw from Isaiah I didn’t know what to expect. Family business is one of my favourite Yeezy tracks so I was extra hesitant when first hearing this, but the only disappointing factor is it being a minute and a half long!

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