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JAE5 & Lojay’s ‘Loveless’ EP Is A Lyrical and Thematic Triumph [Review]

On the 8th of March, 2024, JAE5 & Lojay unveiled one of the premier collaborative Afrobeats projects of the year – the ‘Loveless’ EP.

Loveless EP Cover art.
Loveless EP Cover art.

Over the past three years, Lojay has delivered a handful of fine Afrobeats moments. His 2021 record, ‘Monalisa’, off his LV N ATTN EP with Sarz, was a tour de force on streaming platforms and Detty December raves. His GANGSTER ROMANTIC EP delivered a handful of gems, notably the sleeper hit, ‘MOTO’. In 2023, Lojay featured in Chris Brown’s ‘Sensational’ alongside Afrobeats heavyweight, Davido. Lojay has an established sandbox of sensuality and romance, and this carries into his latest joint effort. JAE5 is also no stranger to Afrobeats collaborations, making an imprint with 2021’s ‘Dimension’ and 2022’s ‘BACK IN UNI’.

Lojay & JAE5.
Lojay & JAE5.

Lojay doubles down on the aesthetic appeal inherent in LV N ATTN and GANGSTER ROMANTIC EPs. He trades the fitting, heart-shaped bullet hole on GANGSTER ROMANTIC for a less graphic, heart-shaped cloud. Two persons are seated below with some distance between them. Presumably, they are estranged lovers with much done and unsaid. The dark clouds caving on the heart-shaped cloud is a further indication of the grey aspects of love. Four tracks scarcely suffice to address this, but Lojay and JAE5 do their best with the time frame.

The opening track, ‘Dishonest’, doubles as unbridled poetry and a cross-cultural home run. South African DJ and producer Tyler ICU and Zimbabwean songstress Sha Sha strategically feature on the Amapiano record. Three heartbeats segue into an intricate outpouring of a scarred lover, nonetheless in awe of his caustic love interest.

And I was a little private on the field of grace‘/’Heaven, send me fire ’cause I’m fighting the dark’/’And my heart all low‘/’Living like my morning stars don’t read the sun‘/’And the tears they pouring down like ocean wave‘/’Girl, I really assure you how to sing your name

It is toxic love at its finest, emblematic of the somber cover art. There is also resignation on Sha Sha’s end. She sings, (‘All your tears come when you’re not sober‘/’I’m over it though (You started in my head)‘). Lojay displays his penchant for melodies and infectious percussions, making another case as one of the industry’s true gems.

Lojay & JAE5.

Lojay’s allegiance to toxic love spills into the next track, ‘Watermami’.

Girl, you know I’m unfit for your toxic traits‘/’Still, I’m only ‘gon listen when you play your radio, are-you

The record brims with more indulgence than its predecessor. Lojay views his love interest as a possible savior or vigilante, eschewing caustic side effects for euphoric moments with her. The song title rearranges the well-known slang, but the message is not lost in translation. Fundamental flaws and presumable incompatibility do not stand in the way of a eulogy and an appeal for indulgence.

‘Watermami’ does not feature the intricate, layered writing of ‘Dishonest’. Nonetheless, Lojay’s delivery does more than enough to yield a solid record and to sustain the EP’s adrenaline. Complete with top-notch production, ‘Watermami’ has all the makings of a club banger.

The EP takes a further step back into sappy territory with ‘Sweet Love’. Coasting on Amapiano once again, Lojay remains evocative on the altar of forbidden love. He sings, ‘All of my advances‘/’Only wish she was priceless‘/’I no get any sidepiece‘/’Only you sheer jealousy‘. While comparatively less mellow than the preceding tracks, the record is upbeat and reminiscent.

For the final rodeo, Lojay and JAE5 draw down the curtains with a guest appearance by Libianca. Its vulnerable lyrics exude wistful regret over a love lost, bringing the EP full circle. It is also more laidback than the preceding track, soaking the listener in.

Lyrically and thematically, the Loveless EP delivers. For Lojay, the EP is another exhibit supporting his case as one of the most creatively daring Nigerian artistes. The lyrics are evocative and lush, tapping into the beauty of human experiences dear and forgettable. On a macro level, the EP is a commendable holdover for Lojay’s debut album, teased on New Year’s Day. It is also not far-fetched to expect more collaborative, experimental projects from JAE5.

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