Who are the N.A.Ks or the New African Kids? This is what I often use to describe myself when meeting new people and talking about my identity. I believe that there are also others who can identify with this and have the characteristics of a New African Kid. What are the characteristics of a N.A.K?
- African Heritage/Lineage: This can be a second generation African born abroad or a person who immigrated abroad from Africa.
- Accepts and identifies herself/himself with their African roots.
- Tries to incorporate African heritage in areas of their lives, whether professionally or personally. This can range from artists, entrepreneurs politicians, development practitioners and more.
- Educates themselves on their heritage, the African Continent and tries to promote the beauty of Africa wherever they go.
In the music industry, there are a few N.A.K’s that have truly been representing their roots. This week, I would like to highlight Jidenna as a New African Kid coinciding with his debut album “The Chief.”
Jidenna– who is actually one of my favorite artists (sidebar) is half Nigerian and Half American and always embraces his Nigerian/ Igbo roots. I started to appreciate him more after I read this open letter he penned in 2015, following some uproar on comments he made. Jidenna showcases Africa through his fashion, comments and especially through his music, from Classic Man to the afrobeats inspired “Little Bit More.”
So I have been very excited to hear Jidenna’s debut album “The Chief,” here are my thoughts:
The album overall showcases Jidenna’s ability to go in between different genres and still make it sound pretty good. What I love the most about the album is that in most of the tracks, Jidenna uses the voice of an older Nigerian man talking about life and giving advice, African proverbs and sometimes comedic lines. From an unorthodox genre of hip-hop, to trap, rap and African highlife, you get a little bit of everything in “The Chief.”
Some of my favorite songs of the album are:
- Track 1|A Bull’s Tale-I was happy to hear this track as it refers back to the open letter I mentioned above following the comments Jidenna made about bad times in Nigeria during his childhood. The production is other worldly and his flow, lyrics, emotions paints a vivid picture before you even see a video. You truly hear the pain and fear in this memory- as I believe all of us have had such experiences of fear for our safety.
- Track 3|Trampoline- Every artist needs a club hit in their album, and this is it for “The Chief.” Every girl will soon be twerking to this one. “The lady ain’t a tramp, just cause she just bounce it up & down like a trampoline”.…#ayye #getit This song is actually a feminist song as well.
- Track 4|Bambi is my absolute favorite. I fell in love with this song as soon as I listened to it. It is not something you’d expect of Jidenna but oh, it sounds amazing. The production itself is a work of art, utilizing African highlife influences of the 70s/80s mixed with a mo-town vibe, Bambi is a beautiful ode to love.
- Track 5| Helicopters/ Beware-What a dope song.. Just listen to this guys.
- Track 6| Long Live the Chief– One of my all time favorite songs by Jidenna, especially when it was rendered on HBO’s Luke Cage series. The song hails the artist’s ancestral roots, his father and completely embraces his identity. This song actually represents what I think are N.A.Ks.
- Track 9|Safari (feat Janelle Monae)-Another one of my favorites, Janelle Monae makes an appearance on this song. The lyrics, the melodies… Wow.
- Track 10|Adoara- The latin inspired melodies and guitars to the wordplay of Adoara/ Adore, this track is very well crafted. Jidenna showcases his vocal range, his rap flow, and a captivating production that hypnotizes the ear.
- Track 13|White N**s -Jidenna has always been outspoken in terms of American politics, racism, and police brutality. In this song however, you truly hear his emotions through a storytelling style rebranding the word N***s in an unusual way. The lyrics over the classic hip-hop, 808 infused production sure do send a poignant message.
Long Live the New. African. Kids fore we shall change our communities, countries, Africa and the world. Thank you Jidenna for an amazing musical journey and more blessings to you!
N.ew A.frican K.id | 808Shuffle