Monalisa: The R&B/amapiano crossover we didn’t know we needed

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Lojay, given name Lekan Osifeso Jr, is 26 years old and hails from Ogun State in Nigeria. Photo: Lojay Music/Facebook
Lojay, given name Lekan Osifeso Jr, is 26 years old and hails from Ogun State in Nigeria. Photo: Lojay Music/Facebook


The amapiano wave is crashing on to the shores of foreign lands and artists from those lands are clamouring to get a piece of the pie.

This week, amapiano artist Mr JazziQ announced a collaboration with American R&B singer Ty Dolla Sign which is yet to be released. The snippet he unveiled was met with mixed reactions.

A few weeks before that, news surfaced that controversial musician Chris Brown would be jumping on to a remix of a song called Monalisa by Lojay and Sarz from Nigeria. That remix is at the top of local charts and has been since it came out.

We reached out to one of the people responsible for the project to gain some insights around this smash hit that came out of left field, blending Afro beats with Brown’s R&B influences.

Lojay, given name Lekan Osifeso Jr, is 26 years old and hails from Ogun State in Nigeria.

“I’ve been making music since 2018. Sarz and I met through my lawyer, and we got to work during lockdown.

Monalisa was one of the songs we were working on while creating the LV N ATTN [Love and Attention] EP. It almost didn’t make the cut, but it ended up being a hit.

The song uses nuances from amapiano, which Lojay says happened because of their emphasis on using log drums to cultivate the instrumentals.

They didn’t link in studio with Brown to lace this record, however. “We sent out the song, he liked it, and sent back a verse. It was seamless.”

READ: Zakes Bantwini and Msaki lead SA music awards list of nominees

Given how the track is performing, we should likely get a video for it soon, but Lojay keeps an air of mystery around all of that.

We can expect a full project from the pair some time this year. Lojay says it will sound a lot more edgy, with a slightly darker theme.

READ: Tyson Sybateli’s album creates a deep personal experience

He has the likes of Burna Boy, Drake, Tems, Ed Sheeran and Davido on his wish list of future features.

The artist believes the way African music is sounding across the board will certainly open channels for more collaboration across the diaspora.

“They’re listening and they love what they’re hearing. Things will surely fall in place.”


Phumlani S Langa 


+27 11 713 9001
69 Kingsway Rd, Auckland Park

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