TDE (Top Dawg Entertainment) has built a solid reputation on a clandestine enclave, Black Hippy, or, reduced to base ingredients: Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul – there can't be many labels that can boast such an A-list line-up. It's an impressive roster of talent the Carson, California institution possesses, and clearly their vetting process is a stringent one, as in almost a decade in the hip-hop industry, they've only signed seven artists. Their first recruits since 2009 - also the first not related to Black Hippy - are SZA, electro-R&B chanteuse with sublime synth-soul compositions, and Isaiah Rashad, a 21-year-old Chattanooga, TN, native.

A self-confessed fan of a swath of rap acts like Curren$y, BIG K.R.I.T., Master P, Nas, and Odd Future, Rashad has a somewhat varied musical background, and when speaking to See Beyond Genre he revealed his Southern influences: "I grew up on UGK, but I was more of an 8ball & MJG, Outkast, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and Master P fan. Master P is really the guy who made me want to rap. I was a stan for him as a kid... Erykah Badu is my life though. Her music is my favorite out of everything. Every album. World Wide Undergroud is my favorite." As well as his sonic muses, his Soundcloud bio also states he makes sandwiches, which provides us some deep insight into his psyche. Sandwiches.

Before TDE were even interested in the fledgling Rashad, Flying Lotus and MF DOOM collaborated with the hip-hop padawan on tracks '2x Pills' and ''95' respectively. The former's a quirky alt-rap sliver with flute hooks, violent gun/Matrix imagery, oodles of auto-tune and slippery, crooked beats. The super-slick ''95' wields jazz trumpet samples and trip-hop rhythms beneath an acerbic tirade against expectations. He's already crafted some essential tracks in his short span as spitter extraordinaire, including 'Hurt Cobaine', 'Shot You Down' and 'Like That', which you need to hear immediately if you've not done so already.

Timberlake's Myspace has made an incredible introductory video to Rashad, with him speaking candidly about being arrested for possession and impregnating his girlfriend. It paints him as a real salt-of-the-Earth rapper (even though he's got ambitions to be a "sex symbol like Prince but without the heels"), something of an oddity in hip-hop, via interviews with his family and a trek back into his past. Stunning mountain sunset backdrops, some deep philosophical soul-searching and his cousin's CD collection all feature. It's not often you get to explore a musician's life in such a voyeuristic way (not since MTV pulled the plug on Cribs anyway), but far from being super-creepy, we glimpse Rashad as a real, tangible, mortal person.

Now that TDE has snapped him up, we're bound to see more greatness. We've recently had his collaboration with labelmate SZA ('Ronnie Drake'), and with his debut mixtape on the horizon, entitled Cilvia (after his car), there's little doubt that TDE are pushing Rashad into our line of sight; far from that drawing ire, we're quite eager to snaffle what they put in front of us, especially if it's a Kendrick collab (so please make that happen if you're reading this TDE).