After keeping fans and critics captivated throughout 2020 with a series of well-received singles and collaborations, including ‘I Slay’ with electronic producer JOYRYDE, the massive summer anthem ‘Periodt’ and the hard-hitting war riddim ‘Corn’ produced by Sevaqk (Mist, AJ Tracey, Dave, Skepta), which have amassed over two million plays across Spotify and YouTube, revered UK rap artist and lyricist NOLAY is kicking off her 2021 in a big way, with the release of her sixth studio EP titled KALAS. She was interviewed by NOTION Magazine about the EP and much more.
Boasting a career that has reverberated across the UK rap music landscape for years, birthed 13 acclaimed projects, delivered classic collaborations with the likes of Ghetts, P Money, Tricky and DJ Zinc, with co-signs from radio stalwarts such as Charlie Sloth, Tim Westwood, Shortee Blitz and Semtex, as well as support from New York Times, The FADER, i-D Magazine, Vogue, Noisey, DAZED, BBC Radio 1 and Kiss FM, among others, South London native Nolay is very often described as one of the best female artists that have come out of the UK rap and grime scene.
With her new EP Kalas, Nolay is fully coming into her own to solidify her status one of the best rap artists and lyricists in the UK, and the self-written 7-track opus sees her working with all new and burgeoning producers Nicknamez, Mudblood, Zero, Digital Enemies and Damien Alter, in a bid to shine light on talent that might often get overlooked in place of more establishment names, with Grammy Award nominated engineer Alex Evans (Giggs, Wretch 32, Emeli Sande, Basement Jaxx) working closely with Nolay to mix and master the project to glorious effects.
In Arabic, ‘KALAS’ means to “run out”, which would be fitting in and of itself, with Nolay sure to run out her competition with this project, but Nolay adds further context in response to any detractors, “‘Kalas’ means enough, done, shut up, stop it, dead, finished, over, they can pick one”. The project begins with the perfect opener titled ‘I’m Back’, which was inspired by Nolay’s time away from music, and how great she felt to get back to loving what she does again. “It’s the release you get when you finally accept your greatness and answer your calling”, the lyricist confesses.
The EP continues in that same vein of Nolay basking in her artistic excellence once more, and staking her claim as one of the best rappers to come out of the UK. ‘Gang Shxt’ sees Nolay showing off her “lyrical gymnastics” on an infectious rap track, while ‘Big Clips’ sees her leaning into her New York rap influences, while still keeping it very London, and ‘S.E.X’ offers a different side to Nolay that we don’t offer hear in her music. The Kalas EP closes out with the heavy hitting ‘Griselda’, the first song she recorded for the project and the spark that lit the fire for the rest of this project and Nolay returning to take her place in the UK music landscape.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the project, Nolay says, “This EP came to life when I came to a crossroads in my career. I had hit so many bumps in the road during my time in the music game, and after a string of disheartening situations with unscrupulous executives, I decided I was going to pursue my acting career, because some very promising doors within the acting industry had opened up for me, and to be honest, my love for music was slowly fizzling out, due to experiencing the same kind of charlatans and timewasters in the music business.
Music went from something that I loved to something that felt like a chore, and something that hurt to participate in, but then I met my new manager and his team, and things turned around pretty quickly after that. One minute, I was talking about quitting rap to become an actress, and then a few months later, we are six music videos deep with an EP on the way, which I believe is my greatest body of work to date. More importantly, the train of thought I am currently on is that I have greater music to come in the future, and without my manager, I cannot be sure that I would have fallen in love with my craft again to be able to say that”.
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