The sun had just gone down. We walked into downtown Miami's Mekka Nightclub. And to our surprise, Top Dawg Entertainment's own Isaiah Rashad was doing his sound check.
"This sounds good, but turn the beat down a little bit so that you can hear me better," the Chattanooga, Tennesse-bred rapper instructed. "Does that sound good to y'all?"
He was playing "Modest" from his latest project, Cilvia Demo. And even during warmups, Rashad radiates sheer skill and raw enthusiasm.
See also: Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Rapper
Later that evening, after Rashad and Miami's Sean Bang wrapped up the prep work, local rapper QuESt opened the show. He spit conscious lyrics over slick tunes. And occasionally, he even veered into a capella segments, showing off his mic skills.
Next up was Louisiana export and Jet Life crew member Young Roddy, who hopped on the stage and dropped lines charged with ambition and autobiographical import. But no doubt, he also rapped about weed.
Roddy began by playing "Paper Habits," featuring a loopy beat with subtle drums and piercing lyrics. "And I swear to keep it cool like my summers was/Now my buzz hot like my winter be/But I don't need they company," rapped Roddy.
When asked how he feels about being on the road by himself repping the Jet Life, Roddy said: "Something I always wanted to do was hold down the set on my own."
And he explained that he wouldn't be touring solo and showing out for the crew if Jet Life leader Curren$y didn't have trust in him.
"Spitta believes in me. Now I'm serious, that I'm out on my own. Everything is serious."
See also: Ten Acts That Could Save Hip-Hop
After Roddy's set, the crowd was hype. And it was time for TDE's Isaiah Rashad.
Rashad's delivery is witty, poignant, and infectious. The fans at Mekka huddled near center stage in the spacious venue for the listening experience of a lifetime.
During his performance, he dapped up every fan within reach, displaying a profound passion for the craft. You could see that he was pouring his soul out on the stage. And whenever a fan suggested a song, he complied with enthusiasm.
Rashad also didn't hesitate to hit some of the joints offered to him by some of the audience members. And he engaged in conversation with them, making everyone feel like they were a part of the show.
After his performance, he came down from the stage and joined his fans. He hung out, took pictures, and even signed a girl's jacket sleeve.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
He and Young Roddy were in a very calm and playful mood after the concert. They hung out for 15 minutes, talking shit and taking videos for Snapchat.
It was an unexpected hang session... TDE meets Jet Life meets the 305 fans.
-- Rob Portal