Charlotte Vs. The World!
If you’re aware of our platform, there’s no doubt that you’ve come across Isaiah Pharaoh. The self proclaimed Starboy and Queen City royalty has been on our radar since the genesis of UVW and continues to one of our favorite artists.
Although he’s making waves all throughout the South, Isaiah used to be a troubled teen. Whether he’s speaking on the uncertainty of his rap career or the girl back home, Isaiah lays it all on the line on “UpDowner2”. Mind you this song is over a year old. A lot can happen in 365+ days and Isaiah flashes back to that time on this installment of Behind The Hits.
I remember when I first heard this track, I felt the pain in your voice. I knew something was bothering you just by lyrics alone. Where were you in life when you wrote it?
Isaiah: “When I made UpDowner I was at a very different point in my life. It was my first summer back home from being at SCAD and many relationships between my peers had changed. The girl I was dating at he time fucked me over and I was ultimately trying to get a hold of the direction I wanted to take in life.”
‘UpDowner’ was one of your first collaborative efforts with Hassan2k (at least on your SoundCloud). What drew you towards that beat in particular and how did you know from there that you and 2k were going to be such a powerful duo?
Isaiah: “Crazy thing about me and Hassan’s relationship is he was one of the first producers to really send me beats and have faith in what I was doing. This was like early 2017. He was sending beat packs and I was working this wack ass job at the airport. I remember ducking off to go listen to the beats all the time. 2k’s beats had a different knock to them. I saw that he was innovative and ahead of his time. Before Hassan I was producing all of my songs. He really broke me out of my bubble and ‘UpDowner’ was the first geen light. This dude believed in me so much. He used to pay for the studio sessions. Nobody had ever done that for me before, so every time I went in the booth I tried to make something new! We just clicked. I knew we were going to be special.”
With over 32,000 plays on SoundCloud, ‘UpDowner’ really started propelling your name in the underground. It gave you credibility. It gave you more attention than ever before. How did you feel when the numbers first started going up?
Isaiah: “I was shocked. It definitely helped me plant my feet and show people that i’m here to stay as an independent artist. It was the first time I had a visual reach 1k views. It made me go even harder and helped me get focused. I think that’s the song came too early for me. I wish there were things I could’ve done to push it to an even bigger level, but i’m always going to be grateful for it.”
What’s the overall message of UpDowner? Is it speaking on the uncertainty of events? Or something completely different?
Isaiah: “The message in the song is that life will always be filled with ups and downs… peaks and valleys. The goof shit always comes with the bad shit, but it’s how you maneuver through it all that makes you stronger. As i’ve grown up throughout all of these phases I make sure I keep that rule close to me. You can never focus too long on the valleys because it’ll never allow you to get back up.”
As Isaiah grows into the artist he’s destined to be, the peaks and valleys will always be there. Good and evil will always coexist, but he knows that won’t stop him on his ultimate pursuit of happiness. “UpDowner2” is a testament to all the adversity life throws his way. He’s ready for anything. It’s truly Isaiah’s World.