Jidenna, the Grammy-nominated “classic man,” kicked off the month of August in Detroit at the El Club during his Long Live the Chief Tour. Addicted to his style and artistic creativity, I purchased my tickets months in advance. After securing my place near the front of the stage, I and a sold out crowd, gathered closely to see the well-dressed rapper-singer give us our money’s worth.
The Nigerian-American is no stranger to Detroit. During the show’s opening, Jidenna expressed how Detroit felt like a second home to him– Jidenna’s sister lives in Detroit– and commended the city on its rich history but more importantly its bright future. Known for his signature style, Jidenna hit the stage dressed in an all blue fitted single breasted suit. Complete with a matching vest, suit chain and accompanied yellow pocket square. Though he was dressed to compete with Detroit’s finest, he stormed the stage with a larger than life presence and kept that energy the entire show.
With Jidenna, you can expect differently. Backed by a live band and a DJ, the audience was able to learn about Jidenna’s upbringing as he sang and rapped songs such as, A Bull’s Tale, a record that describes a time in Nigeria where at the age of six, he was shot, and his sister was kidnapped. Never shy from his political views, Jidenna encouraged the audience to get involved and be the change that this country needs.
The show wasn’t all serious. He delivered party songs such as The Let Out, and his double platinum single, Classic Man. Even though the venue was small, the lighting, fog, and special effects gave the show an arena concert feel. Not to mention, the fusion of traditional Nigerian dances and current urban dances of Atlanta (his current home) brought to life his songs that blended both cultures.
It is sometimes hard to define what the “it factor” is about an artist. Jidenna is one of those artists that become addictive, and you can’t figure out why you’re hooked. They just got it. Jidenna has “it” and then some. The way he commanded the stage and told stories through singing, acting, and dancing was brilliant. The show ended with Jidenna giving Detroit not one, but two encore performances.
Signed by singer Janelle Monae, Jidenna released his debut album, The Chief in February of 2017 on Wondaland Records.