“Welcome to Care City: a place where your pain is welcome, your past is accepted and your future is supported,” Deyah daydreams on her latest EP.
Given what the Berkshire-based rapper and singer has been through, it’s no wonder she’s taking off into flights of fantasy. Care City finds her in a black hole, chronicling the darkest few months of her life. Addiction, heartbreak and a fractured relationship with God are all recalled with gut-wrenching clarity over sluggish, lo-fi beats.
“I’ve got some issues to solve,” she admits on "Okoposire". On "Terminal 7", she reveals she’s “numb to the touch of the world”. Across Care City’s dense 26 minutes, the MC formerly known as NoNameDisciple shines a light on the darkest pits of her own psyche. She candidly lays bare deep insecurities, specifically loneliness and her experiences with alcohol and drugs.
"Ciao" is an excavation of a half-forgotten rock bottom. Snares clatter as Deyah spills out a stream of consciousness of what she remembers from a time when she “lost her mind, slightly” in a haze of addiction. Her melodic flow lurches and her voice strains as she reflects on rehab, therapy and the death knell of an unhealthy relationship. “I gave you devotion, you gave me a rope,” she murmurs. The success of a project like this hangs on how forthright the artist is willing to be – Deyah is an open book.
Realising she can’t depend on others, she finds some kind of comfort in solitude. Sleepy synth pads score declaration of independence "Planet X", where she sing-raps about inner- peace and taking time for herself, and laughs off an ex who wants to reconnect. On "SYS", she swears off the Tinder generation altogether. Bookended by dialogue with an older woman who doesn’t see the appeal of online dating, the song is a scathing repudiation of men who can’t commit to a relationship.
In the past, religion was her port in this storm. Her Lover Loner EP was flush with paeans to faith in the face of habitual heartache. Promoting that project, Deyah told I Am Hip-Hop magazine last year: “My underlying message is about seeking a relationship with God”. Now, her conviction is shaken. Closing track "Liquor Lament" is a scream into the void wherein she proclaims she’s “never felt so far from the God” she used to know, while ‘Mars’ is a sobering look back to the moment she lost her faith. The only track on the EP without a drumbeat, Deyah’s words echo around a bare arrangement of piano chords and guitar tones.
“Rehab got me on my way to a long road/I need to be clean if I’m gonna chase the dream,” she resolves. Deyah has been to hell and back, but still she looks ahead to better days. “After dark, light does prevail,” she stresses on "Terminal 7". Her voice quivers with a touch of uncertainty.