Jidenna's journey to Africa!
Updated: Aug 31, 2019
Nigerian rapper Jidenna has released his second album "85 To Africa" under Janelle Monae's label Wondaland and Epic Records on August 23rd, 2019. Jidenna is best known in hip-hop for his Afrobeats and tribal sounds from his African roots. His last album "The Chief" received positive critical responses with the help of songs like "The Let Out" featuring Quavo, "Chief Don't Run" and "Long Live The Chief" which also appeared on an episode of season 1 of Marvel's Luke Cage. In 2015 at The Soul Train Music Awards, Jidenna won 3 award nominations which were for Best New Artist, Song and Video of the year for the song "Classic Man" and Best Dance Performance for the song "Yoga" featuring Janelle Monae. "85 To Africa" contains guest appearances from Seun Kuti, GoldLink, Mr Eazi, St Beauty and Mereba. With this new album following "The Chief", Jidenna wants to take us on a spiritual journey regarding his African heritage.
The album starts with the song "Worth The Weight" featuring Seun Kuti. The song has a nice bounce to it with Jidenna rapping about black unity and black people having their own lane because at the end of the day, black people are all African and they should all learn how to unite and live together. At the end of his second verse, Jidenna interpolates the same flow and rap method that Kendrick Lamar used on his song "Humble". The song "85 To Africa" has a nice mix between hip-hop and African sound in the background. On this song, Jidenna raps about his relationships regarding different black ethnicity like Jamaicans and Haitians and he also states that anytime that something goes wrong in the USA, he'll just take a trip to Africa. The following song is called "Babouche" featuring GoldLink and the instrumental really goes hard with some nice strings and a little bit of African Tam Tam in the background which gives a nice vibe to enjoy. Jidenna did not forget about you trap music fans, as the song "Tribe" gives us an Afro Trap type of beat which is actually good and the instrumental has a smooth vibe to it as well. In the hip-hop community, rappers tend to say that their families are; my gang, my clique, my posse, my crew but for Jidenna, his friends and families are his tribe. Then we have the song "Sou Sou". Next up we have the song "Zodi" featuring Mr. Eazi and the first time I heard the song, it reminded me a bit of Busta Rhyme's "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See" and what do you know, it does samples that song and the song "Sweet Green" by Seals & Crofts. The instrumental and vibe of the song are so fun and crazy, and I don't know what Zodi means, but by the lyrics of the song, maybe it means "Baby I can't take my eyes off you, I want you for the whole night". Ok maybe the African vibe is too much inside of me, I'm going to calm down.
So far, "85 To Africa" has a good and joyful vibe of music to listen to. At the half of the album, we have the song "Sufi Woman" which is another song about women. I don't know in what language Jidenna is singing in but I like it, alongside with the nice instrumental and a nice Spanish guitar riff. Then we have the song "Vaporiza" and again, the instrumental and the vibe is just too much, I don't know which song from the album has the best instrumental, all I know is that you can't help but dance to them. "Pretty & Afraid" is where Jidenna raps and sings about living his life the best way he can by being himself and not worrying about others, and that the only thing he is afraid off, is dying with regrets. The following song is called "Jungle Fever". On a smooth Jamaican instrumental vibe, Jidenna raps about his relationship with his parents and how he is grateful for them. The album finishes with the song "The Other Half" featuring St. Beauty and Mereba. On this 7 minute song, Jidenna raps about his brothers trapped in a sick and unjust system, but they should not forget to love themselves and fight for what's right by seeing eye to eye with each other. The instrumental of the song changes around 4 minutes when Mereba starts to sing the outro.
"85 To Africa" is a great album to listen to, to vibe to and to dance to, and it follows greatly the
debut album of Jidenna. Throughout the entire album, I could feel the mental and spiritual journey that Jidenna wanted to give us regarding his African roots. The beats were amazing, the coordination and the production of the album were on point. A solid project from Jidenna and the album is so good, it makes me want to take a trip to Africa.