The Break Presents: IshDARR
Milwaukee isn’t known as a hot bed hip-hop talent, however, one artist is looking to change that. IshDARR, born Ishmael Ali, is a melodic rapper who’s been quietly making waves over the last few months. He first caught caught the attention of music enthusiasts with his summer anthem “Too Bad” in 2015. IshDARR followed that hit up with his first project, Old Soul, Young Spirit. Now, a year later, he’s wiser and has more experience under his belt. The 20-year-old MC is looking to turn his momentum into a big break.
Earlier this month, IshDARR released Broken Hearts and Bankrolls, his second full-length project, and his growth is clear. Featuring amazing production, catchy vibes and witty bars all over the 12-track album, Ish is looking to make a big jump in his buzzing rap career.
Hometown: Milwaukee. Wis.
I grew up listening to: “Earliest memories of music had to be in middle school, third, fourth grade, going to my pops house and hearing him blast music. It was hip-hop, it was jazz, it was all types of different genres, that’s when I really started liking music. I started making music at about seventh grade. I used to freestyle, doing it for fun, just freestyling on the phone over Internet beats. Just my thoughts on writing and seeing how much I liked it, I started to like it, early seventh grade. Eighth grade I was just writing and trying shit.”
“I started taking things seriously when I got into high school, like ninth grade. That’s when I met my manager and that’s when I did more research to see how I could take it seriously. The school that I went to could get studio for us and the music teacher was real ambitious about pursuing our dreams in music and that opened my eyes to me actually doing it. [Later in high school] we had a talent show that was big for the school and at the time I told my manager that I wanted to try it. I did the talent show and people went crazy for me and from there I kept going.”
Most people don’t know: “A lot of people don’t know I’m from Milwaukee. I lot of people don’t I’m super heavy into sports and was super heavy into football. I was going to go ahead and play in college and everything but the music just interfered. Back when I was slowing down on football and going heavier into music, my dad was my coach and everything. He was sports sports sports but also was a DJ so it kind of ended up being perfect.”
My style’s been compared to: “How I would describe my sound, now it’s more free, melodic, free spirit. It depends on how I’m feeling. Comparisons, I get a lot of Isaiah Rashad, and a lot of GoldLink.”
My standout records or moments to date have been: “I say Milwaukee, performing at the SummerFest concert this past summer in July. I was scheduled at 6 p.m. on a Tuesday and I was opening for Jason Derulo on the main stage. Just going there, we brought out like 7,000-plus people. Just seeing that, all these high school and college kids chanting my name, who really came to support me was something super crazy. It made me believe even strong like, I got to keep going harder, keep going stronger. It just opened my eyes.”
“The song is ‘Too Bad’ that still continue to blow, 25,000 to 35,000 streams a day. It’s on Apple Music now, Spotify, just seeing that go crazy, it excites me.”
My goal in hip-hop is: “Impact as many other artists out there that I can possibly can. Get in your own lane, find your vibe, and take it as far as you can possibly take it without having any limits. Not being afraid to go out there and do it.”
Standout: Broken Hearts & Bankrolls
Subscribe to XXL on
See 20 of Your Favorite Rappers Naming Their Favorite Rappers