You wouldn’t think a song like Jidenna’s “Classic Man” would need much explaining, especially when paired with the Wondaland artist looking dapper AF in the video. But apparently there’s a bit more behind this Song of the Summer contender than previously thought.
According to Jidenna, in an interview in Billboard, the song was written to address a masculinity he feels is in crisis and allow men to revel in the feelings of being a man:
“I think that we’re at a time where some men feel undervalued, across races and across religions. Their masculinity is being drained — particularly in the African American community, we feel devalued by our nation sometimes. ‘Classic Man’ really speaks about the power of being a man.”
Jidenna was quick to distance himself from any sort of MRA-leaning opinion, noting that women still get the short end of the stick more often than not.
“Yes, it’s still a man’s world, unfortunately, and we have a long way to go in this country and all countries — but there’s something to be said for just feeling the spirit of a true man, and I think that’s what “Classic Man” speaks to.”
Fashion, which seems to be the focus of Jidenna’s public persona and the “Classic Man” video, was third on the list of reasons why he chose to make the song.
Jidenna also told the interviewer how being Nigerian-American shaped his own music. He says he got his own nasal vocal delivery from listening to Highlife music.
Even if the production doesn’t feel African, the vocal delivery — singing through your nose. Specifically, Highlife music from Nigeria. That was the first music I ever heard as a child. So singing through my nose is something I do often, and that’s directly rooted in my heritage.
At large, I feel like we’re entering into a time when hip-hop music in the states, and pop and hiplife and all types of genres across the African continent are emerging, in general. I think they’ll be even more influential as I continue.
For more Jidenna, check him out in the Wondaland protest anthem “Hell You Talmbout.”