Jidenna On New Album ‘85 To Africa’, How Janelle Monae Jumpstarted His Career and His Dating Life

Jidenna On New Album ‘85 To Africa’, How Janelle Monae Jumpstarted His Career and His Dating Life

Photo Credit: Power 106

Jidenna sat down with Nick Cannon to talk everything from his new album, his Nigerian background, getting accepted into Ivy Leagues, Janelle Monáe putting him on and more!

Nick mentions that Jidenna really had a hand in the current Trans-Africana movement in music, that we’re just now really seen being represented in pop culture. Thats the vibe of his new project is, 85 To Africa, “It’s the idea of having a global black culture without these borders,” he starts. “Because of Black Panther in films…everything in art right now feels like black people across the world, hip-hop, afro-beats across the world are becoming one.”

His music is very much influenced buy and related to his ethnic background to which he says, “I feel like I’m both African-American and Nigerian-American. I feel close to both, rest in peace to Nipsey but, Nip kinda represented that bridge as well. So I feel like the hyphen. My mother is American and my dad is African.”

For those wondering, he grew up in Nigeria until he was six. Then whene he came to the states first moved to Boston, then to Brooklyn and eventually ended up going to school in the bay. “I feel like I am literally right in the middle of the two. But because I’m U.S. based, because I grew up here, I feel close to Black-American culture but I never left that perspective of being an African.” Jidenna was accepted to Harvard but ultimately chose Stanford instead, but confesses he wouldn’t have been able to do it had his family not been so adamant about his education.

Something that some may not know it, before he truly stated his career, he brought Janelle Monáe out to a show of his in Oakland, her first outside of Atlanta. Shortly after Janelle’s career took off and she got signed to Diddy. Years later though she repaid Jidenna the favor and helped put him on with Wondaland and then Epic Records.

“Classic Man” was his breakout hit and now we’re seeing this evolution from then to 85 To Africa. Of the new album he says, “Everything was effortless, every song just came through, I wrote these songs, most of them in a day, and that’s it.”

Watch Jidenna and Nick’s full sit down below:

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