The 2015 hit "Classic Man" introduced the world to Jidenna. His look matched his sound: three-piece suits, polka-dotted ascots and red hair slicked down in a wave that would've made Nat King Cole jealous. At one point, a friend's manager took him aside and said he thought Jidenna had a ton of potential as an artist — but there was just one problem.
"He said, 'You're too perfect,' " Jidenna says. "And man, that stuck with me."
So for his first full-length album, the singer and rapper found himself drawn back to his roots: Nigerian highlife singers and the story of his father, who passed away seven years ago.
"My father would tell the story like this," Jidenna says. "He said, 'You were conceived in Nigeria, and then I brought you to Wisconsin to make damn sure that you and your mother — make sure you had the blue passports.' "
With his Nigerian dad and Bostonian mother, Jidenna spent his childhood moving across cities, continents and boundaries. Now, he's released his debut album, The Chief.