- 14 Oct 22
A bonafide superstar is born.
Sellótape, the first full-length offering from Clondalkin ‘Gaelic Drill’ star Selló, has been a long time coming. After landing a coveted deal with Atlantic Records in the UK, the release date was pushed back – but D-Day is finally upon us. Rest assured, it’s well worth the wait. Celebrating Black Irish culture with raw authenticity, the mixtape is brimming with pride – both in his hometown and the talent of his circle, including the D22 crew and collaborators Evans Junior, Reggie, Robbie G, JRILLA and Drogheda drill star Offica.
Weaving sharp lyrics with Gaeilge, Celtic beats and legendary samples from Radie Peat, Sinéad O’Connor and The Chieftains (‘The Foggy Dew’ is manipulated into an otherworldly loop on standout track ‘Dublin’), Selló’s range is extraordinary. The production from MaxBeats (Max Crowley) is slick throughout and Selló’s ability to mingle mile-a-minute speed rapping with laidback bars works brilliantly, whether over drill, trap, hip-hop, dance or even trad beats.
On the hypnotic intro, an audio declares, “When people come from a forgotten group, they become creative.” The rapper cements that notion in spades. ‘Process’ confronts the hardship of everyday life in Selló’s world, growing up without economic support.
‘Storymode’ dives in further, questioning: “How the fuck is a boy meant to raise a man?” Like Stormzy and JHus, Selló refuses to hold back. Dance-leaning banger ‘No Love’ arrives at the perfect moment, offering a respite from the hard-hitting drill beats for a moment of clubland fun, armed with a trademark infectious chorus.
Soulful concluding track ‘Sláinte’ portrays the scale of Selló’s ambition: “I’m just a young black youth with million dollar plans/ Got this money on my mind, with no time on my hands.” Whether on slightly over the top raps about violence in Mace and 16-year-olds holding blades or colloquial turns about the 13 bus, RTÉ, Irish football stars Damien Duff, Robbie Keane and even the Molly Malone statue, Selló doesn’t care about universal references. They’re crafted for his hometown.
Turns from fellow drill sergeant Offica on ‘Oggy’, JRILLA on ‘Come Ouu’, the A92 crew on ‘Big Mac’ and Evans Junior on ‘Diana’ emphasise Selló’s ability to bounce off fellow artists with flair, while ‘Mia Khalifa’ couldn’t be more addictive. Matching regional loyalty, skillful lyrical dexterity, and a DIY ethos with earth-shattering basslines may just have secured Selló’s future – as a bonafide superstar.
Out now via Atlantic Records.
Read more album reviews in the new issue of Hot Press, starring The Coronas.