Jidenna’s New Album ‘The Chief’ Packs Style And Substance

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Ever since striking big with his Grammy-nominated hit song “Classic Man,” Jidenna’s faced the nagging question of when his debut album would arrive. Finally, the singer-rapper can confidently answer the inquiry with the answer everyone’s been wanting to hear: “It’s out now.”

Janelle Monae’s talented protege, who’s signed to her Wondaland label, has been a hot commodity since he first emerged in 2015 for both his look and sound. The Nigerian-raised singer turned heads with his broad smile and distinctly dapper style, always appearing dressed to the nines every time he’s seen in public. His outward persona shouldn’t fool anyone though as Jidenna’s able to come from all angles with his music, sometimes opting to sing and able to switch things up to rap when he wants. And while carefree, party vibes carry songs like “The Let Out,” he’s able to dig his teeth into grittier issues on songs like “White N****s,” which flips the script on racism and asks white people what they would do if roles were reversed, forcing them to face the stereotypes and discrimination blacks tracing back through history and on up into today.

Being able to move bodies on the dance floor and move minds to think after the party stops are traits that characterize Jidenna’s approach with the record. “It has a range of emotions, which now a days there are definitely artists that do, but I like when I explore both the shallow and the deep end of my mind—my lowest self and my highest self,” he said of his music. “I try to put things together that are polar opposites. I think that’s what makes the best artists, that contrast. I emphasize different parts of myself [like] my vulnerability and my might. Some songs feel like the world is on top of me. Other times, I’m on top of the world. I highlighted the African and American sides of me, the Nigerian side.”

Previously released songs “Long Live the Chief,” “Chief Don’t Run,” “The Let Out,” “Bambi,” and “Little Bit More” all made the final cut for the album’s 14 total tracks, which includes features from the aforementioned Monae, Nana Kwabena, St. Beauty, and more. Stream The Chief below, courtesy of Spotify, and purchase a copy on iTunes.