Jidenna: A man after his Father’s Heart

Born on the 4th of May 1985, Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, popularly referred to as Jidenna is a Nigerian-American musician. He was born to a white mother, Tamia Mobisson and a Nigerian father, Oliver Mobisson. Jidenna grew up partially in Nigeria where his father worked as a professor of computer science at Enugu State University. At the age of 6, his family moved back to the United States. In his formative years, he helped found the group, Black Spadez and released his first album as their final project at Milton Academy where Jidenna graduated in 2003. He then enrolled at Stanford and graduated with a degree in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. After which he continued his music career while maintaining a daytime job as a teacher in California, Atlanta and Georgia. His efforts paid off as he eventually signed a record deal with Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records.

Due to his rich heritage, Jidenna represents both his Nigerian and American cultures. He has stated that his major influences include Big Daddy Kane as well as the Nigerian Highlife genre. He has also described his style as “heavily inspired by the Harlem Renaissance with homage to traditional West African design.

With a Nigerian background, he has released songs such as “Long Live The Chief”  which references the chieftancy form of rule predominantly featured in Nigerian society especially with the Igbo tribe, his tribe of origin. In the video for the song, he wears the red cap that many Igbo elders wear to signify their wisdom.

Developing on songs like “Long Live the Chief”, he created an Album titled “85 to Africa”. It’s Jidenna’s second studio album. The album features influential African artistes such as Mr. Eazi, Seun Kuti, Mereba, and Gold Link. On the album, he talks about societies relationships with African women, human rights and money. One of the hits of the album “Sou Sou”, is based of the Igbo word Osu Osu which means collective savings.

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