Following the success of his debut single Classic Man, dapper rapper and singer Jidenna is carving out his own lane. Inspired by the Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and by Nigerian Afrobeat, he released his debut LP The Chief to critical acclaim in February.
Explaining his eclectic sound he said: "In those Bond flicks, it's the same guy, but he might start off in Mexico and then fly to France or the Congo. That's my life in reality, and that's why the record sounds like it does."
Who is Jidenna?
Although he was born in Wisconsin, Jidenna spent part of his childhood in Nigeria, where his father was working as a professor of computer science at Enugu State University.
Signed to Janelle Monáe's Wondaland Records label, he has worked with musical heavyweights including Pharrell Williams, Wiz Kid and Eddy Kenzo.
Highlights and achievements
- Jidenna's debut single Classic Man earned him a nomination in the Best Rap / sung collaboration category at the 2017 Grammys.
- He made a cameo on in an episode of the Netflix original series Luke Cage back in 2016
- A reworked version of his song Classic Man appeared on the soundtrack for Barry Jenkin's Oscar-winning coming-of-age drama, Moonlight.
- He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University.
Who are Jidenna's parents?
Jidenna is the son of the late Nigerian scientist, professor, activist, Oliver Mobisson. His mother is American accountant Tama Mobisson. "I am, always have been, and always will be proud of my Nigerian heritage," he said he an open letter to fans back in 2015.
What is his aesthetic?
Jidenna's style is heavily influenced by the Jim-Crow era. "'Sharp in mind, body and style' is the style mantra," he notes. "It means that I think your look should make it seem like you're sharp in your mind, so it should have a certain level of sophistication."
His best quotes?
"Jesus' birthday is commercialised, so of course, Black History Month is commercialised."
"Swanky means classy and funky."
"I think it's the job of the artist to reflect the times and also reflect his or her views of the world."