Jidenna The classic Man


Jidenna : Will the Classic Man overcome all of the injustices ?

1 Fév , 2016  

He bursts in the rap game with a developed style. Jidenna, Janelle Monáe “protégé”, is a dandy but also a rapper. Thanks to his image, he improves what he calls the Classic Man’s style. To be a Classic Man is not only about clothes, it is truly a way of thinking. In his Manifesto[1], Jidenna describes the Classic Man as someone that “keeps his gloves dirty but his hands clean”. He must always be perfect. Even though he is clean, the Classic Man is not mannered. On stage, Jidenna doesn’t hesitate to sweat in his suit. He gives all he’s got as “Knickers” wild dance music video illustrates. However, Jidenna is not only a party-man, the Classic Man hides a committed man.

A style in honour of his late father.

Since, Jidenna became famous thanks to Janelle Monáe, he does many interviews and featurings. Lately, with the well-known Kendrick Lamar, Jidenna did a remix of his single “Classic Man”. Kendrick raps some powerful but festive verses. By doing so, Kendrick respects Jidenna’s song and way of rapping. Indeed, Jidenna does two kinds of songs. The first one is violent and demanding like “Long Live the Chief”. The second one has a deep and powerful message but is still joyful like “Extraordinaire”.

In an Interview[2], Jidenna admits that people misunderstands the reason why he wears suits. Jidenna wears three-piece suit in memory of his late father. Of Nigerian ancestry, Jidenna’s father immigrated to United States with his wife. Consequently, Jidenna is bonded with Africa. As an artist, Jidenna doesn’t forget his roots and where he comes from. Indeed, Jidenna’s style is close to the Congolese movement called “sapologie”. “Sapeurs” are people that wear fancy suits and ties. However, “sapeurs” are more tacky than stylish. As a man, Jidenna doesn’t forget his roots neither. As a matter of fact, the rapper often comes back to Nigeria to be the chief of his native village, which his father used to lead as well.


The Classic Man doesn’t forget his history.

Jidenna is inspired by his family’s history and the Afro-American’s one. “Extraordinaire” is a call to all the Afro-American to say loud and clear their histories and to accept their skin’s color. This point is highlighted by the chorus of “Extraordinaire” :

“Extraordinaire, we the best my nigga.



We blessed my nigga”

And the lyrics :

“We are here, we are here, they don’t want us so we’re here.

We are here, we are here, always been extraordinaire”.

Somehow, Jidenna integrates the idea of “negritude”, black culture in his rap. It is a concept launched by the French speaking Africans. Again, Jidenna is bonded with Africa. What’s more, in order to show how proud he is of Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, Jidenna has published on his facebook profile a picture of Barack Obama shaking hands with Kendrick Lamar. Jidenna comments on that picture with the following words : “I’m extremely proud of these two gentlemen! They are brilliant, courageous, and ‪#‎Extraordinaire”. The Classic Man said it all. While America is slowly destroyed by racism like cops violence on black people, Jidenna’s rap couldn’t come at a better time. Jidenna goes even further by saying that each day that God makes gives him the strength to work. Unlike slaves that suffered in the past, Jidenna has the choice to work. He is free. It is also in tribute to those black people that he raps. Nevertheless, some communitarianism exists. Why does Jidenna who wants to overcome all of the injustices, make one by speaking to only black people ? He should speak to everybody. His message would be greater. However, this communitarianism is somehow tempered by all of the causes that Jidenna defends.

The Classic Man loves and defends Women.

In his Manifesto, Jidenna describes the Classic Man as someone that doesn’t give in to his urges. When he talks to a woman, he looks at her in the eyes and does not stare at her chest. It is a humouristic feature of the Classic Man. But it enables us to understand that the Classic Man is on the women’s side. He doesn’t speak to women to get them in his bed but to have a deep talk. To get to the Classic Man state, we need to suppress our urges toward women. No wonder that Janelle Monáe wanted Jidenna to sign on her label : Wondaland Records. The word feminist is not enough when it comes to define Janelle Monáe. The lady is behind each actions of support for the woman. By the way, to underline her good relationship with Jidenna she did a featuring with him in “Yoga”.

It looks like the Classic Man is everything except for classic. He is unorthodox. The Classic man is the man that fights against all injustices and wants men and women’s happiness. However, if Jidenna wants his message to be greater, he should not fall in a communitarianism which will only alter his message. Jidenna uses rap music as a mean of denunciation. Does this shape-shitting genre that is rap music gained a new asset ?

[1] http://jidenna.com/manifesto/

[2] Interview that he gave to essence.com : http://www.essence.com/2016/01/12/why-does-jidenna-dress-way-he-does-answer-may-surprise-you

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Moïse Ayivi
Mes thèmes de prédilection : #actu, #musique #mode #politique

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