Jidenna Theodore Mobisson (born May 4, 1985), known mononymously as Jidenna, is an American recording artist and record producer. In 2015, Jidenna released two singles, "Classic Man" and "Yoga", promoting Wondaland Records' compilation EP The Eephus. His debut album, Long Live the Chief is set to be released in fall 2016.

Early life and education

Jidenna Theodore Mobisson was born on May 4, 1985, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, to Tama Mobisson, an accountant, and Oliver Mobisson, a Nigerian Igbo academic. Jidenna grew up partially in Nigeria, where his father was a professor of Computer Science at Enugu State University. Jidenna's name in the Igbo language means to "embrace the father." In 1995, the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts. Jidenna released his first album as a final project at Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts, where he graduated in 2003. While attending High School, he founded a rap group and began producing, arranging and writing. Jidenna turned down a record deal to attend Stanford University, first studying sound engineering, but eventually switching his major to "ritualistic arts". In 2008, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he pursued his music career full-time, moving between Los Angeles, Oakland, Brooklyn and Atlanta. Jidenna stated that his major influences include KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane.

Career

Jidenna is signed to Janelle Monáe's Wondaland Records label and distributed through Epic Records. He has collaborated with a number of artists that are signed to this label; including Roman GianArthur, St. Beauty, Deep Cotton and Janelle Monáe herself, and then began recording a five-song compilation of its label's first extended play (EP), titled The Eephus. In February 2015, Jidenna released his first official single, called "Classic Man" featuring Roman GianArthur, another artist additionally signed to Wondaland Records. The song has been played in heavy rotation throughout the United States and debuted at number 49 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart. On March 31, 2015, the second single from the EP was released – "Yoga" by Janelle Monáe and Jidenna. His song "Classic Man" was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards. In June of the same year, Jidenna performed the song with Monáe at the BET Awards. Jidenna additionally received an award for best new artist at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards in November.

Jidenna is a founding member of Fear & Fancy, a social club that began in California in 2006. The society, reminiscent of the social aid and pleasure clubs of New Orleans, is an international collective of entrepreneurs, activists, educators, scientists, and artists who host soirees, dinner parties, and demonstrations.

Musical influences

Jidenna says that his music is inspired by Nigerian music, specifically the Highlife music genre.

Personal life

Jidenna developed his personal style in college, where he learned about the power of fashion from his psychology professor Philip Zimbardo. Notwithstanding he wouldn't adopt his signature dandy style until the death of his father in 2010. Jidenna describes his look as "heavily inspired by the Harlem Renaissance with hints of traditional West African design," and a "marriage of European and African aesthetics." Jidenna currently resides in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.

In September 2016, Jidenna was featured in an episode of the Netflix original series Luke Cage. Season 1 episode 5, "Just to Get a Rep", opens with Jidenna performing "Long Live the Chief" at the fictitious Harlem's Paradise. He performed "Long Live the Chief" and "Little Bit More" with a full band on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah in October 2016.

Discography

Studio albums

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
USUS
R&B/HH
Long Live the ChiefN/AN/A

Extended plays

TitleAlbum detailsPeak chart positions
USUS
R&B/HH
Wondaland Presents:
The Eephus
  • Released: August 14, 2015
  • Label: Epic, Wondaland
  • Formats: CD, LP, Digital download
225

Singles

As lead artist

TitleYearPeak chart positionsCertificationsAlbum
US
US
R&B/HH

US
R&B

CAN
UK
"Classic Man"
(featurng Roman GianArthur)
2015229659174Wondaland Presents:
The Eephus
"Yoga"
(with Janelle Monáe)
793111
  • RIAA: Gold
"Long Live the Chief"48Long Live the Chief
"Knickers"
"Extraordinaire"
"Chief Don't Run"2016
"Little Bit More"
"—" denotes a recording that didn't chart or wasn't released in that territory.

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

YearNominee/workAwardResult
2016"Classic Man" (featuring Roman GianArthur)Best Rap/Sung CollaborationNominated

Soul Train Music Awards

YearNominee/workAwardResult
2015HimselfBest New ArtistWon
"Classic Man" (featuring Roman GianArthur)Song of the YearNominated
Video of the YearNominated
"Yoga" (with Janelle Monáe)Best Dance PerformanceNominated

Videography

YearTitleDirectorRef
2015"Classic Man" (featuring Roman GianArthur)Alan Ferguson
"Yoga" (with Janelle Monáe)Dave Meyers
"Classic Man (Remix)" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)Benny Boom
2016"Long Live the Chief"
"Knickers"
"Chief Don't Run"
"Little Bit More"