With his GANGSTER ROMANTIC EP, Nigerian singer-songwriter Lojay weighs up the heavy against the light. Through moments of simultaneously reflecting and offering snapshots of his current emotional state, the Ikorodu-native lends his signature falsetto to instrumentation straddling Afrobeats, R&B and amapiano. “For one, [the title] was just an expression of a lot of negative emotions from past relationships,” Lojay tells Apple Music. “The album is very brutal, honest, raw and rough. It gives off this gangster vibe, but is still a very romantic project.” That duality is present on one of the seven-track offering’s lead singles, which fuses the amorous with a street aura. “If you hear a song like ‘LEADER!’; it’s very empowering,” Lojay explains. “It’s an ‘I don’t need nobody and I’m the man’ type of song, but there’s still an element of romance to it. I feel like that’s expressed throughout the EP, where I guess I’m the bad boy on the negative side of love right now.” Here, Lojay (Lekan Osifeso Jnr.) talks us through GANGSTER ROMANTIC, chronicling this phase he finds himself in. “YAHWEH” “‘YAHWEH’ is actually a funny story ‘cause it was the last one to make it to the EP. I recorded it a lot closer to the actual submission in a session with the producer Yung Willis. I didn’t know what to expect, because I knew of him, but I hadn’t met him. I decided to take a shot and went to his studio. He played me this beat and I instantly fell in love! I decided to be brutally honest on here, expressing myself about someone who’d brought me to my knees. It’s really interesting because the song is quite vulgar, but you get to the chorus and I’m saying the Lord’s name.” “LEADER!” “This was probably the earliest song recorded and it was shortly after I’d dropped the LV N ATTN EP [with Sarz]. The buzz had just started to grow, so now I’m meeting new people. I met someone who was very particular about being in a relationship. She just wanted to tie me down—or at least that’s what it felt like at the time. ‘LEADER!’ was me trying to share how I felt about that situation: ‘You’re not going to just have me, ‘cause I know who I am and know what I want!’” “MOTO” “I made ‘MOTO’ in three different countries. I made the beat in Switzerland ‘cause I had an 18-hour layover, then I got to Malta and was going through the idea and I eventually finished it in London. I was listening back to everything and wanted one more song I felt was ‘sweet’ in terms of keys and light-heartedness. It was me saying, ‘As much as I try to give, you don’t seem to want it and that’s okay… I’ll just move on with my life.’ I lived it: giving someone everything possible and getting nothing in return.” “CANADA” “Funny enough, Maphorisa and I made ‘CANADA’ in Ghana, where I’d gone to the stripclub the night before. I’m literally talking about wanting to change your life. I said it in a light way but it’s about a stripper who just wants to get to Canada—she’s not interested in anything else! I’m the type of person to have conversations with people in the club because you get a lot of interesting stories out of that. ‘How did you get here?’ is a very small question that can open up so much detail about someone and about society. This one girl just wanted to leave Ghana and that was the only thing on her mind. I guess that stuck with me—without me knowing—‘cause when Maphorisa played this beat it just flowed straight out.” “IYD” “This was an idea that I had been holding onto for a while and it just needed to be ripe for fruition. It’s a letter to my ex, expressing how I feel… genuinely. Regardless of everything that happened and the fact that now she’s seeing me on TV and listening to me on radio; I’m saying ‘I still miss you and I still wanna spend time with you, if you’re down.’” “AVALABU” “This was the last recorded song and it was just straight-up fun. It’s a very positive song which I really enjoyed making. I was in a good mood around a couple of friends, with someone cooking in the background in this really nice house. There was no stress and this is the embodiment of the energy in the room when I was recording—I just want people to feel that same energy.” “OVA” “I kept telling myself that whatever happens, the last song on this project would be ‘OVA’. It’s just a nice way to say ‘Thank you for enjoying this listening experience’. At the same time, it’s me accepting—and coming to terms with—a turbulent relationship that’s been nothing but ups and downs. After that rollercoaster… let’s breathe.”

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