Isaac Haas = C Slick + Southside + DJ Smokey
With the release of Ill Lighted, local producer Isaac Haas has successfully flexed his ability to create a quality instrumental. The EP is only four tracks long and has more of a beat-tape feel to it, as opposed to a fully fleshed-out album. However, that seems fine for what Haas is doing, and for the music that he showcases in this release.
The first song on the tape, “Castles,” is high-quality and well thought out. An airy sample brings us into the beat, which drops in an enticing and unexpected manner. There is an anthemic feel to the song, as with most of Ill Lighted. Haas brings the hype, using 808 kits and jittery hi-hats throughout. It is obvious that, as a producer, Haas draws inspiration from the big names in rap and hip-hop instrumentals, such as anyone from 808 Mafia, Metro Boomin and even Maaly Raw. Still, Haas brings his own feel and inspiration. Tracks like “Ominous” are heady and slow, which makes the drop that much better.
Every track on Ill Lighted could be extended by at least a minute. Haas clearly made the instrumentals as a sample pack that can be given to rappers to show what he is capable of. Even so, it would have been nice to hear the beat ride out. Hip-hop instrumentals oftentimes repeat themselves for several meters, and if Haas extended the beat by even a little bit, it would have had the potential to stand out more and to let emcees try their hand at freestyling over it.
Despite being short, every song on Ill Lighted has amazing potential. Any emcee out there would be able to spit catchy bars over any one of these beats, and it will be interesting to see whom Haas decides to collaborate with in the future. Check out Isaac Haas and Ill Lighted, and try your hand at spitting bars over these tracks yourself! –Taylor Hartman