I liked ‘Classic Man’, it was one of key sounds of Summer 15′, and even with a Kendrick Lamar remix I didn’t get who or what Jidenna was. Whether he was an R&B dude or something more. Whether he was here for a minute or if he was going to go the distance and evolve into one of the great ones.
I connected with Jidenna at the Covent Garden Hotel, an amazing venue that is adorned with classic British furniture. We were in a study that mirrored the ultimate living room goals for the esteemed, and also perfectly matched Jidenna’s style.
Having heard the album and connecting with him for this podcast it’s clear that although ‘Classic Man’ was a smash, it was also very misleading. Jidenna is a much deeper artist than the Summer 15′ classic. Born in Nigeria, moving to America, raised on a diet of Hip Hop, R&B, and Naija sounds has given him a greater creative edge and perspective than other US artists.
There is no doubt that Jidenna is talented, has his own swank, and will be successful, but what’s more interesting is that he could be the US artist that bridges the gap between intercontinental genres, to mix the US sounds and African sounds with integrity. It’s cool that artists like Drake have featured Wizkid on a track, or Akon merged sounds a while ago, but the end result was still leaning to a more US sound.
As a rapper/singer/producer Jidenna can go in the studio with Kanye West in the US, or with Team Salut in the UK. He can have a hit in the US, but launch his debut album in Nigeria, unheard of moves by a new US artist. Jidenna could be that artistic ambassador to successfully cross the cultures, to open the pipeline further for artists such as Wizkid, Davido, and Mr Easi to be embraced by middle America.
Check out the ‘Hip Hop Raised Me’ podcast with Jidenna below.
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‘Hip Hop Raised Me’ the book will be out on October 6th via Thames & Hudson, and is available to pre-order here.