Each week, I basically receive several tracks by new (to me) hip hop/rap artists in my mailbox, but there aren’t too many of them recorded by a Persian/New Zealand female rapper. CHAII has just released a new EP, ‘Lightswitch,’ accompanied by six, self-directed and produced striking visuals, filmed ‘guerrilla-style’ with a small crew of friends, and the six tracks are worth the trip.
The rapper/producer/engineer is bending genres with ease and sculpting her infectious beats with a creative and modern twist, building soundscapes filled with entrancing pulses and electronica Arabic dancefloors. The title track and EP opener ‘Lightswitch’ is delivered with a super infectious and catchy dance beat while calling out the fake culture. CHAII said that the song ‘…is about the raw realness in everything, being true to yourself, and how obvious it is when people are fake.’
‘Nobody Know’ has a hypnotic thump and a much more sinister tone like a female version of a Death Grips track. The more aggressive ‘Middle Ground’ has an almost claustrophobic vibe with electronica layers and CHAII’s voice is delivering ‘a commentary on an artist’s struggle and eventual triumph over the self-doubt that so often plagues creators.’ The song is also featured in Charlize Theron’s new Netflix movie ‘The Old Guard.’
‘South’ has the same badass tone and raw beats working like a catwalk during wartime, and was picked up by FENDI to launch their FENDIVA brand earlier this year, while ‘Digebass’ (featuring B Wise) bends once again genres and styles while the rapping parts are delivered over chaotic layers of exotic electronica, chants, and dancefloors. ‘Trouble’ delivers an oppressive atmosphere with widescreen production and the same anxious beats
The tempos of the songs channel southern-Iranian influenced drum pattern while CHAAI’s icy and commanding flow dominate her powerful and contagious dancefloors. She has produced 6 bold tracks filled with infectious beats pounding to the floor back to your thorax, and the inspiration for videos came from CHAII’s journey of learning more about Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution. Plenty of artists and musicians left Iran and relocate to California after their work was banned in their homeland. and California remains home to the largest Persian music community outside of Iran. Of this inspiration, CHAII said, ‘I am part of the new generation of Iranian immigrants who are creating music outside of Iran. Coming from New Zealand, where there’s a very small Persian community that you barely see or hear from, it was a revelation to experience the perfect blend of Western and Persian influences when I first visited LA to see family.’
CHAII’s debut EP, Lightswitch, has been released last Friday, July 10 via BMG / Black Lotus Records.
Watch the other videos on her YouTube channel.
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