Isaiah Rashad: “I wasn’t buzzing on some Internet hype shit. What I did do is pay attention to some good writing, like Jeff Weiss and Z and Max Pete from DJ Booth and a couple of the other people that I really fucked with.

At least when I sent those dudes a song and they didn’t like it, they would tell me why they didn’t like it ... It helped me build my shit better.

"Even though I didn’t have the craziest buzz, they fucked with me. I would send a song to one of the dudes I knew who knew whoever. At least when I sent those dudes a song and they didn’t like it, they would tell me why they didn’t like it. I could listen to it and see if I agreed with them or not. It helped me build my shit better.

“To me it was a type of validation. Like, ‘Alright. I’m not garbage.’ I already knew I wasn’t garbage. But even if I don’t think I’m garbage, what really matters is what other people think. I started fucking with people through the back door versus just putting out a song, because I could have been put out a mixtape but it wasn’t special.

“I hadn’t been buzzing on the outside but I’d been buzzing behind the scenes. A&R’s bounced me around a lot.”