The Classic Man: 15 Things You Didn’t Know About Jidenna
If you watched the BET Awards on Sunday, then I’m sure you watched newcomer Jidenna perform his hit single “Classic Man.” With Janelle Monaé by his side, it was a performance that had everyone asking, “Who is that?!” With his signature look and sound, Jidenna is already making big waves as he introduces the world to his swanky style. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about hip-hop’s newest MC.
Born Jidenna Mobisson, the talented 30-year-old musician is of Nigerian descent. Jidenna’s name in Igbo means “embrace the father.” His father, the late Oliver Mobisson, was a traditional chief in Nigeria, and Jidenna lived there for the first six years of his life before coming to America.
The dapper man loves quality entertainment. One of Jidenna’s favorite shows is Netflix’s House of Cards. He also enjoys the new Planet of the Apes franchise.
He’s been stylish since high school. This #tbt shows that his fashion choices have always been classic.
Jidenna’s 2015 BET Awards performance paid homage to the civil rights movement. The talented artist is an advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement. When he is not able to demonstrate on the ground, he regularly lends his support on social media.
In an interview about his hit single “Classic Man,” Jidenna shed some light on the meaning behind the song. “It’s more about character, dignity, integrity…and men having a song for us…not just the boys.”
Jidenna graduated from Stanford University. He said he walked away with a bachelor’s degree in Ritual Arts, a major he created. “I began my studies in a sound and electrical engineering program, but I ultimately created a major called ‘Ritual Art.'”
When he graduated, he worked as a teacher in the South Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. He also was a political demonstrator in the Bay area, tackling the high incarceration rates of minorities.
Jidenna has wanted to be a rapper since he was in the seventh grade. He started a rap group called Black Spadez. The rappers who inspired him to do so at the time included Mase, Biggie, and Nas. His favorite rapper of all time? Tupac.
He is the founding member of a social club called Fear and Fancy, which is described as “an international collective of entrepreneurs, activists, educators, scientists, and artists who host soirees, dinner parties, and demonstrations.”
Back in the day, Jidenna used to write posts on a WordPress blog that promoted music, poetry, and good vibes. You’ll have to do a little digging, but the site is filled with jewels for every Jidenna stan—his personal music reviews, poetry, and links to his earlier performances.
Beyoncé has the Beyhive, Nicki has the Barbz and Jidenna’s fans are called the Jenerals.
When asked who he would like to work with in the future, the man with the 100-year plan offered up some big names: Hilary Clinton, Elon Musk and Stromae. With all that he’s accomplished so far, there’s no doubt he will see these plans through.
He’s swanky. A word which Jidenna describes in this video as meaning “a little bit classy and a little bit funky.” Could Jidenna’s swanky be the next fleek?
While Jidenna’s suits look rather pricey, he has found many of his pieces by doing some old-fashioned thrifting. He has admittedly hit up thrift stores throughout New York to create his signature look, and he also works with designers who make him some one-of-a-kind pieces.
Jidenna and Issa Rae are friends from way back. His music was even featured in an episode of her hilarious web series, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
Jidenna is signed to Janelle Monae’s Wondaland Records. You can catch more of their dynamic music when The Eephus EP drops.