Jidenna - The Chief - Album Review
Jidenna is a Nigerian American hip-hop/r&b artist who was born in Wisconsin, and shortly after returned to his parents' native Nigeria. Throughout his debut album The Chief, Jidenna tells stories from his childhood in Nigeria, his life now in America, and how he is viewed by some in Nigeria.
The first song on The Chief is 'A Bulls Tale', and it sets the tone for the project. JIdenna starts off describing the death of his father and having to return home under disguise to bury him later. It is a killer start to the album. Jidenna raps with fear and anxiety; "I feel thieves and witches within the trees / hop in a Jeep and on dirt road we speed / someone chasing us, Hummers chasing us." A couple songs later we are treated to 'Trampoline'. This is a wonderfully produced record, as mentioned below. It is a song about knowing what you want in life, and doing what you have to in order to get it.
The production throughout the entire record varies greatly. We are treated to plenty of hip-hop, african drums, and background choir vocals. It is reminiscent on certain songs of Watch the Throne, and then on songs like 'Bambi', there aren't comparisons available. Jidenna does a wonderful job of mixing different ranges to his production, as well as his own vocal ranges/flows. It's a very sonically pleasing album throughout; one such example includes him rapping over brass ('Trampoline'), which is one of my all time favorite sound combinations.
'Bambi' is the first song that I heard by Jidenna, and it grabbed my attention for his smooth singing, and deep bass. As the song progresses, the lullaby feeling becomes more prominent, and you find yourself letting yourself falling into the trance that is this song. If nothing else, give this song a listen. Later on 'Long Live The Chief', Jidenna raps viciously over a beat that is fantastic.It is a bit loud and violent in ways, so it won't be for everyone.
On 'Some Kind of Way', he raps a familiar theme - how old peers see him shining now, and all the things that come with that - jealousy, anger, etc. It's him at his most pop on the record. The next track 'White N****s' is one that is the standout on the album. Jidenna flips the scripts - he raps about a world in which white people are hunted down, and blacks have all the privilege. It's a deep, hard hitting track, bringing some important things to light. It's a great track, and will be a conversation starter like none other out there right now. The finale is 'Bully of the Earth' - an ode to his "poppa." He raps to his father late in the track, "I remember back in '08 / when you cried for Obama / if you were here today / you would cry for tomorrow." He closes up the album singing, "It ain't the end of the world / just the end of the day," a fitting end, providing a sense of hope and optimism, which can be hard at times in these current times to maintain.
Check out the album below, and have a fantastic week!