A man with style, elegance, strong lyrics and a catchy sound has come onto the music scene, Jidenna is his name. Can the strong album live up to this strong and expressive character? Here is my take on Jidenna’s record The Chief.
√ Great voice (rap and singing)
√ Strong lyrics
√ Bambi (one of my favourite songs this year)
⊗ interludes/intro’s are cumbersome and too long
⊗ lacks character in his songs
⊗ too many different sounds and mid song flow changes
Every once in a while a new slightly outlandish artist comes along that at first makes you think: uhm okay what is this all about?
My girlfriend and I first saw Jidenna appear on the Jimmy Fallon show where he performed the odd, yet catchy sounding song ‘Long Live the Chief’. The squeekiness of the nails-on-the-chalkboard background synth tune sets the tone for an outspoken, slightly political album, that does not know whether it’s rap or pop.
The man looks like he got lost in wardrobe of a 1930’s mobster, with a variety of tailored three piece suits and signature cane. I like it, it is something completely different compared to the common skinny jeans wearing rappers called Lil’ ‘Something’ who can only rap to one type of beat and flow. Go to your room Juicy J!
On stage he is elegant, enthusiastic, energetic and very likeable, throwing in some crazy dance moves at times.
As mentioned earlier there is a slightly political tone to the record, evidently shown in the song ‘White Niggas’. Which imagines a white family that is struggling with addiction to prescription drugs and facing the same sort of systematic police oppression that afflicts black communities. Also the song ‘Helicopters’ elaborates on police brutality and racial inequality with lines like: “they’ll shoot you down without warning”.
He sings cleanly and some songs have very strong raps, but overall it lacks cohesion and character. The one song that saved the record for me in terms of diversity is his audacious attempt of a rap/lullaby song called ‘Bambi’. Ultimately my favourite song on ‘The Chief’. Another favourite of mine ‘Adaora’ makes you wonder where the line is drawn between being a rapper or pop singer. He does both well and authentic but listening to The Chief is like being interrogated by two cops and neither know who is playing good cop or bad cop.
My top song suggestions of ‘The Chief’ are:
6. Long Live the Chief
8. The Let Out
13. White Niggas