November was a great month for Ireland’s versatile R&B / hip-hop hope Monjola. He played two shows each in London and Dublin with Biig Piig before playing to full houses across Europe as guest to Kid Cudi - and earning plenty of praise at social media and on the Kid Cudi sub-Reddit for his performances. After those adventures, Monjola now looks closer to home for the inspiration for his new single ‘Mama Always Says’.
‘Mama Always Says’ adds a fresh curveball to Monjola’s already unpredictable style, as propulsive drum ‘n’ bass-style beats provide a frenetic foundation for a clash between beaming electro-pop and alternative R&B. Monjola’s melodic topline feels effortlessly natural as he recounts the life lessons his mother passed down to him as he grew up. Its hook is so simple yet instantly addictive: “Mama always said, kill ‘em with the kindness!”
‘Mama Always Says’ was produced by Joe Brown, the in-house producer/engineer at XL Recordings. His credits include Lapsley, Dev Hynes, Richard Russell’s Everything is Recorded project with guests Aitch and Infinite Coles, and Anoushka Shankar’s Grammy-nominated album ‘Love Letters’.
Monjola says, "This song was made so quickly, it came so naturally. Joe played me the beat by accident and I went to the booth and freestyled the whole track. It was inspired by my Mum and the morals that she raised myself and my siblings on." The Dublin-based artist started out playing guitar and drums, and step-by-step went deeper into music, first launching club nights and then releasing tracks on SoundCloud.
While ‘Mama Always Said’ is just his eighth official release, he is already tipped as one of the current wave of underground Dublin artists with everything it takes to go international. The track is released via Chamomile Records, a joint venture between Monjola, his brother and regular collaborator Moyo, and another next wave artist, Aby Coulibaly, who he teamed up with for last year’s ‘Where u at’.
Equally adept at delivering razor-sharp rhymes or heartfelt soul, Monjola dances between genres and emotions - an approach which means he can’t be boxed into any one box. Appropriately enough, his inspirations come from a broad spectrum of sounds including Kendrick Lamarr, Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes, J Dilla, Snoop Dogg, James Brown, Two Door Cinema Club and Arctic Monkeys.