- 02 Oct 20
The powerful mixtape from the new 'king' of Irish rap is our album of the month.
Denise Chaila knows exactly who she is – and that she is capable of greatness. On her debut full-length mixtape, she’s making sure the rest of the world knows it too. Intertwining delicate spoken word pieces with soulful melodies and aggressive beats, Chaila consistently bares her soul. Her sound mixes minimal instrumentation with intense bass as she traverses the modern hip-hop landscape with the gusto of a woman who wants to inspire her listeners to join her on a journey of self-acceptance – and beyond.
Opener ‘Chaila’ serves as a perfect introduction to both the album and the artist herself, poking fun at the various mispronunciations of her name with a light, almost comedic tone. Working hard at her craft, the Limerick artist makes one simple request: “Say my name.” The track catapulted her to success upon its release, yet it feels even more relevant in the context of her full-length introduction to music fans.
Go Bravely is defined by Chaila’s well-founded self-confidence. Still, there’s no sense of an over-inflated ego as she addresses her own flaws, having great fun with the wordplay throughout. ‘Move’ and ‘Can’t Stop Me Here’ also offer a sense of vulnerability as she addresses her own past mistakes. The latter, appearing toward the end of the record, finds Chaila battling against her insecurities with the poignant lyric, “If I refuse to stand in my own way, what makes you think you’re special?” Such quotable one-liners populate the record as Chaila embraces her own self-worth while simultaneously promoting positivity to her listeners.
Supplemented by hefty bass, the penultimate ‘Down’ serves as a cheeky, yet intensely assured track, leavened with a healthy dose of fantasy. Chaila’s pop culture references are plentiful, ranging from Star Wars to Lord Of The Rings to Avatar: the Last Airbender. It subverts expectations, offering comparisons to the whimsical rather than stock allusions to the world of money and fame.
Chaila wraps the record up with the title-track, an ode to bold self-love. Her strong spoken word cadence drips with power as she offers words of inspiration. Jazzy, minimal beats transition into twinkling, entrancing synths on an utterly stunning outro, wrapping up one of her strongest songs.
Go Bravely cements Denise Chaila’s status as one of the most talented young artists in Ireland today. Her flow is immaculate, her lyrics tight and nuanced, and she creates a unique sound that simultaneously adheres to the confident tropes of modern hip-hop while exploring the realm of poetic spoken word. Her desire for justice and social change is heavily apparent on Go Bravely, promoting transformation through inspiration. An Irish Album of the Year contender.
- Out now.