Label/Distributor: KARATORI RECORDINGS
Genre: Afrobeats, R&B, Amapiano
Date of Release: 3rd March 2023
Producers: Yung Willis, DJ Maphorisa, Tanasha Donna, and more
Lojay is one of those Nigerian singers whose rise to fame is clouded in mystery. Somehow, it feels like he’s been at the top for years when he’s actually only just begun. When he released his debut EP LV N ATTN, a joint collaboration with veteran producer Sarz, the “upcoming singer” tags were few and far between. Remarkably, it was hard to compare his unique voice, style, and clever songwriting with anything we had ever heard before.
While the globetrotting “Monalisa” endeared him to fans all over the world, “Tonongo” was the real earworm. The record was produced by Sarz, and he and Lojay exhibited the sort of wicked chemistry that Sarz and Wizkid once shared before Wiz became a global ambassador of Afrobeats. Indeed, Sarz’s beats are usually cooked to suit a singer’s talents– a recurring theme throughout LV N ATTN’s 5 songs, as Lojay lay waste to all the records with his otherworldly falsetto and penetrating one-liners.
But, as often, his success was both a blessing and a curse. Was it Sarz’s knack for creative excellence at play? Or could Lojay navigate the painstaking demands of delivering high-quality projects on his own?
For those who wondered, it’s nearly two years later and he has provided an answer to your questions, even surpassing your expectations.
Lojay’s first solo project GANGSTER ROMANTIC is a 7-track, 20-minute-long EP that delves into the duality of love and relationships, exploring, with splendour, the heavy emotions that come with them. Lojay’s signature falsetto is present throughout the EP, varying in sweet melodies of Afrobeats, R&B, and South Africa’s Amapiano– the opulent sounds of contemporary Nigeria.
The EP’s title is a reflection of Lojay’s past relationships, expressing his antagonistic sentiments on love through the music. In a recent interview with Apple Music, Lojay stated that the project is “very brutal, honest, raw, and rough,” which is evident from its opening track, “YAHWEH.” Produced by Yung Willis, the song is a candid articulation of vulnerability, with Lojay baring his soul about someone who brought him to his knees. The explicit nature of the lyrics adds a rawness to the song, showcasing Lojay’s creative honesty.
Lojay’s romantic and assertive side is highlighted on “LEADER,” an Afrobeats track that offers a refreshing take on the age-long pressure of being in a relationship while aiming to maintain one’s independence. “Why you wanna be my controller? Shey you only see me like soldier?” The lyrics are empowering, with Lojay declaring that he knows what he wants and won’t be tied down by anyone. The track’s upbeat tempo and catchy melody are sure to be a hit with fans.
Lojay’s creative process is evident in “MOTO,” which was made in three different countries: Switzerland, Malta, and England. It is one of the lead singles of the project and explores the idea of moving on from someone who doesn’t quite seem to appreciate what you have to offer. The light-heartedness of the track’s keys and melody provide a balance to the heavy subject matter.
“CANADA” is a playful track that explores the idea of escape and the Japa trend. The song’s light tone is in contrast to the seriousness of the lyrics, which are about a stripper who wants to leave Ghana for Canada. It’s the only song with features, as South African musicians DJ Maphorisa and Kabza De Small ensure that its Amapiano inspiration is original.
“IYD” leans heavily on R&B; an intimate track that serves as a letter to Lojay’s ex. The song’s emotional depth is palpable, with Lojay expressing his desire to spend time with someone who is no longer a part of his life. The track showcases Lojay’s ability to connect with his listeners on a personal level, making his music relatable to anyone who has experienced heartbreak.
“AVAILIBU” is a collaboration with Tanasha Donna (without official credit) and was the last recorded track on the EP. The song is lively and positive, with Lojay’s cheerful side in the spotlight. The track’s energy is contagious, wickedly inviting listeners to the dance floor.
The EP’s final track, “OVA,” is a thank-you note to fans for sticking through the journey thus far. At the same time, the song is a testament to the ups and downs of relationships, with Lojay coming to terms with the turbulent nature of his past relationships. It’s “OVA,” but it’s actually over. As often, that acceptance is the recipe that gives rise to new opportunities– a brutal confession, yet a happy ending to GANGSTER ROMANTIC.
In all, GANGSTER ROMANTIC is rich in every department, including sound, storytelling, and the ‘groove,’ which we always desire and love about our music. It’s not just a genre-mocker, it’s laden with substance, showcasing Lojay’s outstanding artistic growth in a very short span. The project oozes class, excellence, and imagination, confirming that we have a gem on our hands.
—– More than worth your attention.
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