Born in Wisconsin yet raised in Nigeria and Massachusetts, Jidenna mixes and matches multiple different styles and right now he’s clearly one of the most versatile artists in the game. He arrived on the scene as a breakthrough success in the name of the hit record Classic Man back in 2015, and since then he’s steadily picked up steam and has produced a very entertaining live performance for himself, which is undeniably a great quality to have in any genre yet is all the more valuable in Pop/R&B. Fact is that Jidenna is hardly a one hit wonder and seemingly has a lot of talent with an abundance of heat to his name, and his debut album The Chief is for the most part a potential blueprint for a superstar in the making.
Without any further introduction needed The Chief is critiqued track by track below:
A Bull’s Tale
“Jidenna, how many times did I call you? You are a stubborn bull, just like your father” The introduction to the album is definitely a heavy hitter that revolves around Jidenna revisiting Nigeria to attend the burial of his father. This one clearly demonstrates Jidenna’s cultural roots as well as his eclectic and experimental style in music. Overall a nice introduction.
Chief Don’t Run ft Roman GianArthur
“Before the red cups and the backwoods smoke, me and mom in the shack in the woods, bro, I was sleepin on the floor with the oven door open, while I dreamt about the places that I would go” Another one loosely based on his upbringing in Nigeria, and overall this one’s not a standout but another decent album cut.
“The lady ain’t a tramp, just cuz she bounce it up and down like a trampoline” Now this is the radio friendly record that is definitely in Jidenna’s wheelhouse, this is what Jidenna does best with simple, catchy melodies that are sure to make an impact on the mainstream. Not mad at this one...
“Oh Bambi I won't lie… if I weren't in this spiderweb of mine. if grandfather never had seven wives. then darling you would be love of my life… oh Bambi it's my design, to run the jungle I must be a lion, or be a cheetah but neither is fine, don't wanna hurt my dear love of my life...” Smh Jidenna is certainly one of a kind, this isn’t as much a radio friendly record as much as it is just a genuinely great record (although I do believe the direction of the video did the record a disservice), nonetheless Jidenna has a lot of nuance to his style and that’s why everybody’s tuned in.
“They'll shoot you down without warning, when they see you shining bright, in case we don't meet the morning, the crown's on my head tonight” This two part definitely has some redeeming qualities, and together they definitely serve as another decent album cut.
Long Live The Chief
“***** fighting over rings, ****** wanna be the king, but Long Live the Chief” Jidenna likes to spit but truth be told I’m good on this… go ahead SKIP this one
“I don’t spend no major time with no minor people, if it’s for the greater good then I might deceive you, living like a Rolling Stone but I’m quite a Beatle, living by your own law can be quite illegal” The instrumental provided by Andrew Horowitz, Nana Kwabena & Hit-Boy is definitely some of the best production on the album, and overall I kinda like Jidenna’s raps on this… this one I’d recommend 👌
The Let Out ft Nana Kwabena
“And that lame tryna holla, he a Bond wannabe, he a Roger Moore *****, I'm a Sean Connery, I know” Jidenna back in his radio bag and this is exactly what it’s supposed to be, not mad at this at all...
Safari ft Janelle Monae, St. Beauty, Nana Kwabena
“We all on a totem pole, some are high and some are low, in their soul, lord let me know, is there something I should know?” Lyrics, melody, production, concept, and features all on point… other than the hook… even still this is a decent album cut
“Adaora, Adaora, Adaora...I adore ya” This one is produced by Nana Kwabena & Jidenna himself, and it’s one of the best records on the album that once again highlights Jidenna’s unmatched versatility.
Little Bit More
“Are we ever gonna, you should make up your mind, take you back to my shrine, and I'ma need the whole night, and a little bit more (I'm gonna need a whole night), they don't know how you like it, (I'm gonna need a whole night), and I'ma need the whole night, and a little bit more…” 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 back in his radio bag and this may be my favorite Jidenna record to date 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 more fire 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Some Kind of Way
“You can't hide your face, we're-waiting-for-you-to-come out and play, somebody's gonna feel some kind of way, somebody's gonna feel some kind of way about you” This one has a message but even still it’s album filler disguised as an anthem in the name of hand claps and a catchy hook… actually that’s enough for me to say it’s a decent album cut that just isn’t for me
“Say if you and your wife, Madeline, were treated just like mine, all the anchors on ABC Nightline would speak about white crime, we’d see videos every night of handcuffed white boys in the night time… And you will miss the Zinfandel, the lawns and picket fences, soccer moms and christmas presents, goodbye to Martha’s Vineyard, you in a rougher spot here, reflect on how you got there, the law had you in crosshair, stop and frisk your kids playing street hockey in lacrosse gear, son was barely even selling, but when he returns the whole suburb would brand him as a felon, can’t get no job, he can’t vote, family name’s ashamed, though he was targeted, we force him to take the blame, as all the blacks just walk past with their yoga mats, eating their kale like all’s well in the cul-de-sac” Crazy production by Andrew Horowitz, Nana Kwabena, AdoTheGod & Jidenna himself this is a concept record with nothing but truth behind it, and this is the best raps I’ve heard from Jidenna to date.
Bully of the Earth
“I switched styles on ya poppa, your boy got a new barber, your daughter gotta new daughter, and bought a ride for your mama, I moved the tribe out to Georgia, I lost Bambi and Adaora, cuz I want a little bit-a more-a” 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 solid outro and Jidenna is really nothing to play with.
In conclusion this is a better than decent debut studio album, and as stated before Jidenna is definitely a superstar in the making. He can sing, he can dance, he’s got style and a whole lot of nuance to his music, Jidenna without a doubt is already one of the most versatile artists in the game. Even the raps are pretty decent whenever the concept has meaning (I’d pass on the braggadocious raps in favor of his thoughtful, introspective side), and put altogether this album certainly has something for everybody even if you don’t love it from start to finish. Even still he’s been around for a few years now and has certainly made himself a household name, which is why I suspect his sophomore album to be one of the most anticipated in 2018.