ALBUM REVIEW

Jidenna’s “85 to Africa”

For a versatile dandy, Jidenna easily fits into the current, endless acclamation of the African heritage

In Summary

• The project is worth the listen and full of exciting tunes to move to

Jidenna's "85 to Africa" album cover art
Jidenna's "85 to Africa" album cover art
Image: Courtesy

Title: 85 to Africa

Artiste: Jidenna

Genre: Hip hop/ Rap

 
 

Release: August 23

If nothing else, Jidenna is quite accepting of his origin. Typically, he will be described as an American artiste, but the rapper continues to strongly identify with his African roots.

Born to a white mother and Nigerian, Igbo father, he certainly wears it well very well. He effortlessly can speak in what can be assumed to be his father’s native accent and his fashion sense will, once in a while, incorporate the African prints.

This was a journey he set out on in his 2017 debut project “The Chief”, where he used hip hop to tell the narrative of an immigrant.

It was the first time we would entirely experience the artiste, who picked inspiration from various cultures he interacted with. In fact, this was the project that ensured he builds an identity that most enthusiasts are still in awe of. It was a project that offered the world hits like “Bambi,” “Chief Don’t Run” and “Long Live the Chief”.

In November 2017, after months of touring Africa, including Kenya, he released a six-track EP, which included quite a number of guest appearances from African acts, including Tiwa Savage, Maleek Berry, Sarkodie and Burna Boy.

In an aim to solidify this artistic venture, he has now released yet another metaphorically titled project christened “85 to Africa,” which continues to glorify the diversity and brilliance that is Africa.

For a versatile dandy, Jidenna easily fits into the current, endless acclamation of the African heritage. Every artiste now seems to be bending towards an African vibe, but Jidenna seems to be a master.

Kicking off his latest body of work with Fela Kuti’s youngest talented son, Seun Kuti, perhaps is every artiste’s biggest dream.

He does the trap-drum track “Worth the Weight” by urging Africans to unite to gain the power we need. 

Throughout the project, Jidenna is truly focused on the African agenda, with tracks like “85 to Africa,” “Tribe,” “Sou Sou” and “Vaporiza”.

We get to experience his sound, lyricism and instrumentation greatly influenced by Africa. He features Nigerian artiste Mr Eazi on “Zodi” and also recruits American rapper GoldLink, a rapper whose latest album also picked great inspiration from Africa, on “Babouche.”

The project closes out with a Mereba & St Beauty-assisted “The Other Half,” a track that slows down everything to make the perfect end to a project.

“85 to Africa” truly lives up to its title. It’s a true representation of African culture, and Jidenna does well to deliver this promise.

He amplifies the significance of Africa and ensures he tells the narrative the best way he can. The project is worth the listen and full of exciting tunes to move to, and that’s part of the charm. 

 
 

Star rating: 3 out of 5