At the vanguard of the most recent incarnation of the Irish hip-hop movement is Limerick-based collective, narolane records. Founded by Denise Chaila, MuRli and God Knows – all breakout artists in their own rights – narolane comprises rappers, singers and producers who are pushing the boundaries of creativity and collaboration beyond any previous limits.
Released 5th of March, a day after Denise Chaila took home the Choice Prize for Album of the Year for her mixtape Go Bravely, Water by Narolane: God Knows X Denise Chaila X MuRli forms an introduction to narolane records.
Mixing the three MC’s inimitable vocals with an underlying hypnotic refrain, narolane describes Water as “a baptism”.
“The narrative of suffering as being inherent to Blackness is a stain on the spirit. Sometimes, to challenge toxicity, you must call it out, reclaim who you are, reconnect with the truth and wash yourself free to breathe, ” say the founders. “When we believe in our joy, we are cleansing off the lies of oppression, of inferiority, of dehumanisation and poverty – and exchanging them for the truth of the life within us.”
People say that Irish hip-hop is having a moment. In reality, this is a moment that has been building for a long time. Ireland’s history and its people embody so many of the elements that make up hip-hop culture and that has manifested in the island nation’s musical output for decades. Music by those who challenge societal stagnation and the status quo; music by artists who are unafraid to call out injustices; music that really heralds change.
Undoubtedly, narolane is at the helm of the movement’s current incarnation. Water is their powerful statement of intent to “flesh out the truth of our entitlement to dignity, to joy, to life. To pure water.”