Album : The Chief

Artiste : Jidenna

Genre : Hip-hop/Afro-pop

Release Date : 17 February, 2017

Awesome-o-metre : 7/10


The Classic Man, Jidenna Theodore Mobisson, has dropped his debut album – THE CHIEF. Having introduced himself with his Classic Man single which has a highly pop infused sound, it’s been difficult to categorize his genre of music but with THE CHIEF he puts out a diverse and fun album, hopping between genres effortlessly and celebrating his Nigerian heritage.

The album starts with A BULL’S TALE, with Jidenna talking about his controversial return to Nigeria, the insecurity in the country and his fear of being kidnapped.  Uncle Palmwine (whose voice we will hear various times through the album) flows in and out. Jidenna starts rapping about coming back to bury his Dad leading us to suspect that the album title also seems to reference and honor him as he held a Chieftaincy title in Enugu. It is no surprise therefore that a lot of times we hear him say the “Long Live the Chief” moniker. The track is quite humorous. In describing returning to his village he expressed a lot of fears including being kidnapped, being robbed and even being poisoned by his family members and how he didn’t eat anything they offered him. Typical fears most Nigerians can relate to when visiting their village.

On the CHIEF DON’T RUN featuring Roman GianArthur (same dude on Classic Man), he raps about his beginnings and the struggle to find his way, and how his Dad wanted him to be a lawyer, engineer or doctor. The record has a lot of African sound influence and you hear him rapping “it’s my time, hit the gong out here” as you will hear in ancient Nigeria when there is an announcement in the village.

On TRAMPOLINE he celebrates women having fun and states that being out partying doesn’t mean you are not successful but is about finding the balance in life. The track ends with the voice of Uncle Palmwine dishing us some very hilarious sex education.

The sweet lullaby BAMBI is definitely one of my favorites on the album. The song which references the Disney movie of the same title has Jidenna singing about his love interest and how so many things are pulling them apart “my dear I want you here, but don’t get too near for there’s lions – beware”.

On HELICOPTERS/BEWARE he fused two tracks into one transforming into club mode on the upbeat HELICOPTERS dropping the tempo. In the final two minutes, we hear the Kanye-like sample and Jidenna’s voice belting out Young niggas BEWARE.

Jidenna was at his story telling best on LONG LIVE THE CHIEF as the track revolves around his life, his beginnings and how he learnt to make a silver spoon from a plastic one, his rejection of Harvard for Stanford, meeting a real life president while he’s thinking of making a lot of dead presidents etc. If you are looking for that track to plug in your earpiece and bump your head to, then you have found the right one, with lots of quirky bars and punchlines.

On 2 POINTS he throws shot after shot at friends who try to stab you in the back. Without doubt Jidenna shows he has the lyrics that can go toe to toe with those of most major rappers in the game. For an artist that is not considered a core rapper, he keeps dropping hot bars and noteworthy quotables.

On THE LET OUT he has on his favorite producer for a classic hit Ghanaian-American Nana Kwabena Tuffuor, who co-produced Classic Man and the two artists obviously seem to have a formula that produces magic. We might be looking at one of the latest artist/producer combinations that will continue to produce hit track after hit track.

Jidenna enlists the beautiful voices of Janelle Monae, and American music duo St. Beauty and Nana Kwabena Tuffuor as he took us on a trip through the wild SAFARI and led us right back to his African roots as he serenades ADAORA.

A LITTLE BIT MORE already has us feeling SOME KIND OF WAY, two heavy tracks taking us straight to the dance floor. Uncle Palmwine drops further knowledge for us on the intro of WHITE NIGGAS and Jidenna does a beautiful 3 verse rap/poetry rendition talking about the ills in the society. WHITE NIGGAS is arguably the most beautiful and conscious track on the album. What has been an all-round beautiful album ends with BULLY OF THE EARTH where Jidenna raps about stand out events that made him grow from a boy into a man.

THE CHIEF is compelling, diverse, bright and fun from start to finish. Jidenna is defying categorization with his musical range and sounding like an artist that can fit into all genres. The album infuses his American and Nigerian background and the Uncle Palmwine character dropped enough wit and wisdom that will make Pete Edochie proud. The stand out tracks for me are BAMBI, LONG LIVE THE CHIEF and WHITE NIGGAS but it is an all-round album that you will not want to skip a track. Asides his constant dapper look for which he is now famous I believe with THE CHIEF, Jidenna has proved that he has a lot more to offer and dropped a debut album that cannot obviously be slept on. With a 7/10 rating I sign out by screaming LONG LIVE THE CHIEF.

Revue contributed by @iamkriss

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