Jidenna Theodore Mobisson is an American rapper and singer and has Nigerian roots because of his father. His father was a Nigerian lecturer who is from Imo State. He was born in Wisconsin, grew up in Enugu, Nigeria where his father lectured, and moved back to the United States at the age of 6. He started his rap career in college by creating the rap group Black Spadez with some friends. Jidenna wrote, composed, and arranged songs while being in the group. After college, he worked as a tutor while pursuing a music career. He signed to Janelle Monae’s record label Wondaland Records and in 2015 released one of his most popular songs Classic Man. One way Jidenna incorporates his African roots is by how he dresses. It’s a combination of European and West African designs. On August 23, 2019, Jidenna released the album titled, 85 to Africa, which is his second studio album. One song on his album titled “Sufi Woman” is Jidenna’s way of returning to his Nigerian roots.
The song is about Jidenna meeting a mesmerizing and sexy woman who possibly put him in a trance with her beauty. The song has Afrobeats melody and Agbada and pidgin English throughout. The entire album is a mixture of contemporary hip hop, Afropop, and highlife. “Worth the Weight” incorporates contemporary hip hop while “Babouche” features GoldLink is an ode to slipper common in West Africa. Another mention is the song titled “Vaporiza” which incorporates Ethiopian horns. Recently Jidenna has been speaking about his African past and how African history can not be forgotten. In an interview with Revolt Jidenna says no one can have an African-American conversation without mentioning Africa, and if they do society will be repeating history. I interpreted this as Jidenna does not want artists and people, in general, to forget about the history of Africa and the influence it has on the African American community.
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