- Words Solly Warner
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 picks 10Trax for Notion that inspired it.
Boasting a career that has reverberated across the music landscape for years, with collaborations with the likes of Ghetts, P Money, Tricky and DJ Zinc, and co-signs from radio stalwarts such as Charlie Sloth, Tim Westwood, Shortee Blitz and Semtex, South London native, Nolay is highly revered in the UK rap and grime scene.
After releasing a series of well-received singles in 2020 including the fan favourite “I Slay”, summer tune “Periodt” and hard-hitting “Corn”, Nolay is back with the release of her latest EP, ‘Kalas’.
‘Kalas’ comes after a period where Nolay’s love for music was beginning to fade away. However, through new management and inspiration, the artist is now fully coming into her own to solidify her status in the scene. The self-written 7-track project also sees her working with all new and burgeoning producers Nicknamez, Mudblood, Zero, Digital Enemies and Damien Alter, in a bid to shine a light on often overlooked talent.
“‘Kalas’ means enough, done, shut up, stop it, dead, finished, over, they can pick one”, Nolay said. The project begins with “I’m Back”; inspired by Nolay’s time away from music and how great she felt to get back to loving what she does again and 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 the EP.
To celebrate the release of ‘Kalas’, Nolay has picked 10Trax for Notion that inspired her during the creation of the EP.
"Warm Shadow" by Fink
"I discovered this song while watching Season 6 of 'Ray Donovan'. 'Ray Donovan' is one of my favourite crime drama series alongside 'Breaking Bad'. I find most of my favourite music in films and TV dramas because you literally stumble across songs that you may not usually come across. I love this song as the night I discovered it was the night before my photoshoot for the 'Kalas' EP cover. I then went and had a hot bubble bath with dark red wine and played the song on repeat before going to sleep for the shoot."
"WIN" by Jay Rock
"I discovered Jay Rock through Kendrick Lamar. The song 'Win' by Jay Rock is my motivational kickstart for the days when I need that extra boost. It’s definitely kept me focused on the long days when I need my sleep but gotta run around doing my career duties."
"Plastic 100°C" by Sampha
"The song makes me feel good. I feel like it aligns me when my vibe is feeling unbalanced and gives me a deeper sense of calm and sometimes that’s exactly what an artist like myself needs in the hustle and bustle of their careers."
"Mantra" by TiDUS
"The lyrics on this song were relatable when I first heard it because I hadn’t seen or spoken to my mother for some years. It kept me going and kept me determined to make things happen in 2020 and this year."
"Double Up (feat. Belly and Dom Kennedy)" by Nipsey Hussle
"It’s one of my favourite Nipsey tracks I learnt a lot from Nipsey in regards to being entrepreneurial and having ownership of music. I had this song on heavy rotation during the period of thinking about the creative direction of the songs for my new EP 'Kalas'. R.I.P Nipsey, you dropped some real gems."
"They" by Jem
"This song came out in 2004 lol but it’s just more relevant now to me than it was when it came out. Especially since the Covid problems. I find this song fitting to the times, with lyrics such as, "Who made up all the rules / We follow them like fools / Believe them to be true / Don't care to think them through / And I'm sorry, so sorry / I'm sorry, it's like this". The song definitely deserved more recognition."
"Power Rap" by Prodigy (Mobb Deep)
"This song is off of the album 'Queensbridge' . Another rapper that is gone but never forgotten. Prodigy is one of the reasons I rap. As a kid he just made me feel like I gotta do this lol I can’t explain it. His tone, wordplay and just his clarity and pen game is brilliant to me. I believe every word he says and I listen to his stuff in general to be honest but this particular song just makes me want to write after I hear it and definitely contributed to inspiring during my journey with my EP 'Kalas'."
"Sowing The Seed" by Ryuichi Sakamuto
"I was on my first tour across Europe and I remember driving through Denmark with wind in my face and this song came on the radio and for some reason, that is a moment that I replay in my mind. After that I couldn’t get the song out of my head, I heard the DJ name the song and I searched for it. Little did I know it was over 30 years old. I’ve always loved synths as my mum used to play it a lot. Ryuichi is a Japanese composer and the song was actually made for the film 'Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence' starring the legend David Bowie. I now just listen to this song to remind me of that moment when I was on the road touring and how every musical move I make now is going to take me back to more moments like that but amplified."
"You Got The Love" by Candi Staton
"I prefer the original vocal to the Florence And The Machines version. It reminds me of being a kid and my mum playing her records and there’s just a real and authentic feel to it. It’s also featured in 1 of my favourite movies 'The Layer Cake'. I play this song when I’m fed up and need to be reminded that it’s not the end of the world. This song was rinsed before , after and during the creative process for my EP 'Kalas'."
"I Got a Story to Tell" by The Notorious B.I.G
"I mean come on lol it’s Biggie! He is just the epitome of rap to me. Every time I listen to Biggie, I wanna write or I feel mad inspired. The tone, the flows, the concepts and the beats are authentic rap and I love that."