Music Reviews

Jidenna – The Chief [Review]

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.

groen



√ Great voice (rap and singing)

√ Strong lyrics
√ Bambi (one of my favourite songs this year)

rood

⊗ interludes/intro’s are cumbersome and too long
⊗ lacks character in his songs
⊗ too many different sounds and mid song flow changes


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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:
4. Bambi
6. Long Live the Chief
8. The Let Out
10. Adaora
13. White Niggas

 

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2 comments on “Jidenna – The Chief [Review]

  1. Intriguing video! Definitely some identity crisis going on there, from the his look/identity, sound and musical genres. There’s a hint of old time reggae as well which permeates the whole thing which worked for me! Kinda felt like there should’ve been a stronger rap section somewhere but 7 sounds right!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah even though I appreciated the more melodic songs like Adoara and Bambi I did miss some more rap time as I do feel he has the flow, lyrics and tone for it! Thanks man!

      Like

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