Those of us in paid employment can relate to this feeling more than most, the feeling when the organization you’re working with let’s you know that they’ll be going in a different direction and that they’ll be doing so without you.
Thankfully, it didn’t take Sojay long to pick up the pieces from a failed record deal with Trybe Records and forge ahead with another one from Alaga Ibile and Les Roses Rouges.
I don’t know which is more surprising, the fact that a renowned street rapper named his imprint after red roses or the fact that its flagship artiste is an R&B singer who would rather make music to help men take off bras than spit hot bars.
But I like surprises and Sojay’s So Far EP has been a very pleasant one.
Having lost his father at an early age, Sojay grew up with an emptiness that even the best of sparkling wines can’t fill. On “Fill my Cup” it sounds like there’ve been nights when he’s tried. He puts some of his travails into words, remaining painfully aware that money won’t solve them all but he’s willing to try. “One day” is a list of things he’ll be able to do when one of his tries finally pays off. Lagos mansion – check, Range Rover – check flexing with his boys – check. It seems like there isn’t much space for any woman in the singer’s success plan which might be a good thing because if SoJay makes good on some of his promises on the mid-tempo “Holiday”, he might not be able to do much else. Think 3 day weekends, think lavish parties every night in between.
But what’s an R&B singer without a smooth voice and a sweet tongue?
He puts the two to expert use on the pensive “Say something”. The brevity of the song, the plucky guitar riffs, SoJay’s impressive vocal texture, it is drama and the blues!
SoJay tests his vocal cords on blue magic of a different variety on “The Manual”, rising to a falsetto every time his lucky lady gives his lips a break. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the album’s closer, the unimaginatively-titled “Fook”.
Save for a feature from himself and another from his comrade-in-arms Olamide, Reminisce seems to have given his recruit room to flex his creative muscle. Thankfully for all concerned, SoJay puts all that creative space to good use with the sort of skill that let’s you understand why he wasn’t in the artiste labor market for too long.