Jidenna, A Biography, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



Jidenna performing in 2015
Background information
Birth name Jidenna Theodore Mobisson
Born May 4, 1985 (age 32)
Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, U.S.
Genres Hip hop
Years active 2012–present
Associated acts
Website jidenna.com

Jidenna Theodore Mobisson (born May 4, 1985), better known by his stage name Jidenna, is an American rappersingersongwriter, and record producer.[1] In 2015, Jidenna released two singles, “Classic Man” and “Yoga“, promoting Janelle Monáe’s label Wondaland Records’ compilation EP The Eephus with Epic Records.[2] His debut album, The Chief was released on February 17, 2017.[3]

Early life and education

Jidenna Theodore Mobisson ws born on May 4, 1985 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin,[4][5] to Tama Mobisson, a white accountant, and Oliver Mobisson, a Nigerian Igbo academic. Jidenna grew up partially in Nigeria, where his father was working as a professor of computer science at Enugu State University.[1] When Jidenna was 6 years old, the family moved back to the United States after they had suffered a kidnap attempt.[1] In 1995, the family moved to Norwood, Massachusetts, and then to Milton, Massachusetts, in 2000.[6] His father died in 2010.[1]

In high school he became a co-founder of the rap group Black Spadez, and began producing, arranging and writing. Jidenna released his first album with Black Spadez as their final project at Milton Academy, where Jidenna graduated in 2003.[7] Jidenna was accepted to Stanford University and Harvard University, and chose to attend Stanford University, where he began studying sound engineering but eventually switched his major to “ritualistic arts”.[2] In 2008, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he pursued his music career while working full-time as a teacher, moving between Los AngelesOaklandBrooklyn and Atlanta, before signing a deal with recording artist Janelle Monáe’s Wondaland Records.[8]


Jidenna is signed to Janelle Monáe‘s Wondaland Records label and distributed through Epic Records.[9][10] He has collaborated with a number of artists that are signed to this label; including Roman GianArthurSt. BeautyDeep Cotton and Janelle Monáe herself, and then began recording a five-song compilation of its label’s first extended play (EP), titled The Eephus.[11] In February 2015, Jidenna released his first official single, called “Classic Man[12] featuring GianArthur. The song was in heavy rotation throughout the United States,[13] and debuted at number 49 on Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart.[14]

On March 31, 2015, the second single from the EP was released – “Yoga” by Janelle Monáe and Jidenna.[15] His song “Classic Man” was nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 58th Grammy Awards.[16] In June of the same year, Jidenna performed the song with Monáe at the BET Awards.[7] Jidenna also received an award for best new artist at the 2015 Soul Train Music Awards in November.[17]

Jidenna is a founding member of Fear & Fancy, a social club that began in California in 2006.[1] 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.[18]

In June 2016 he released the single “Chief Don’t Run”. [19] On February 17, 2017, Jidenna released The Chief, his first studio album. The album cover pays homage to Boz Scaggs‘ Middle Man album.


Jidenna stated that his major influences include KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane,[20] as well as the Nigerian Highlife music genre.[21]

Over the years, the singer developed his personal style in college, where he learned about the power of fashion from his psychology professor Philip Zimbardo. However, he would not adopt his signature dandy style until the death of his father in 2010.[7] Jidenna describes his look as “heavily inspired by the Harlem Renaissance with hints of traditional West Africandesign,” and a “marriage of European and African aesthetics.”[22] Jidenna currently resides in East Flatbush, Brooklyn.[23]

Appearances in popular media

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.[24] Jidenna guest starred on Insecure in the episodes “Thirsty as Fuck,” and “Shady as Fuck,” which aired in November 2016.[25]

Chopped and screwed version of “Classic Man” featured in the Academy Award winning 2016 film Moonlight.


Studio albums

Title Album details Peak chart positions

US Rap
The Chief 38 16 11 58

Extended plays

Title Album details Peak chart positions
Wondaland Presents:
The Eephus
  • Released: August 14, 2015
  • Label: Wondaland, Epic
  • Formats: CD, LP, digital download
22 5


As lead artist[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Certifications Album


Classic Man
(featuring Roman GianArthur)
2015 22 9 6 59 174 Wondaland Presents:
The Eephus
(with Janelle Monáe)
79 31 11
“Long Live the Chief” [A] 48 The Chief
“Knickers” N/A
“Chief Don’t Run”
(featuring Roman GianArthur)
2016 The Chief
“Little Bit More”
“The Let Out”
(featuring Quavo)
“—” denotes a recording that did not chart or was not released in that territory.


Year Title Ref Director
2015 “Classic Man” (featuring Roman GianArthur) [38] Alan Ferguson
“Yoga” (with Janelle Monáe) [39] Dave Meyers
“Classic Man (Remix)” (featuring Kendrick Lamar) [40] Benny Boom
2016 “Long Live the Chief” [41]
“Knickers” [42]
“Chief Don’t Run”
“Little Bit More” [43]
2017 “The Let Out” (featuring Nana Kwabena) [39]

Awards and nominations

Grammy Awards

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2016[44] Classic Man” (featuring Roman GianArthur) Best Rap/Sung Collaboration Nominated

Soul Train Music Awards

Year Nominee/work Award Result
2015 Himself Best New Artist Won
Classic Man” (featuring Roman GianArthur) Song of the Year Won
Video of the Year Won
Yoga” (with Janelle Monáe) Best Dance Performance Won


  1. Jump up^ “Long Live the Chief” did not enter the Billboard Hot 100, but peaked at number 10 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.[37]


  1. Jump up to:a b c d e Fitzmaurice, Larry (March 17, 2017). “Hail to the Chief: Jidenna will be performing at thw University of Minnesota-Duluth on April 29th. GO DOGS! Jidenna’s Incredible, Globe-Spanning Journey”Noisey. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  2. Jump up to:a b Brown, Harley (July 1, 2015). “Jidenna: The Classic Man With a (Semi-Secret) Plan”SPIN. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  3. Jump up^ “Jidenna Presents Debut Album at L.A. Listening Party”Rap-Up. Retrieved 2017-03-18.
  4. Jump up^ Forgenie, Cacy (March 20, 2015). “A Star Is Found: Jidenna Mobisson: A “Classic Man””Flavorpill. Flavorpill Media. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  5. Jump up^ Amaya Mendizabal, “Tomorrow’s Hits: Jidenna, Ashley Clark & Jasmine Thompson”Billboard, May 15, 2015: “Born in Wisconsin, and raised for a period in Nigeria, the nomadic singer has since resided in several stateside cities and is currently based in Brooklyn.”
  6. Jump up^ Drake, David (March 1, 2015). “Bout to Blow: 10 Dope Songs You Should Be Hearing Everywhere Soon”. Complex. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  7. Jump up to:a b c Murray, Nick. “‘Classic Man’ Singer Jidenna on How His Father’s Death Inspired His Dandy Style: ‘It Was My Way of Grieving’” 16 Jan 2016. Billboard Vol 128.1
  8. Jump up^ “Janelle Monáe’s Artist Jidenna Releases New Music Video ‘Classic Man'”. Necole Bithcie. February 23, 2015. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  9. Jump up^ Aswad, Jem (February 13, 2015). “Janelle Monáe Becomes a Mini-Mogul With Her Revamped Label”Billboard. Retrieved 13 February 2015.
  10. Jump up^ Diaz, Evelyn (21 February 2015). “Janelle Monáe Appears in Classic Man by Jidenna”. BET. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  11. Jump up^ “Janelle Monáe: I Come in Peace, But I Mean Business”. BET. March 26, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  12. Jump up^ “Classic Man feat Roman GianArthur”Soul Central Magazine. Retrieved February 13,2015.
  13. Jump up^ “Hot New Music! Jidenna – Classic Man”WJMN Jam’n 94.5. February 10, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  14. Jump up^ Trust, Gary (March 23, 2015). “Chart Highlights: Madonna’s Ghosttown Debuts on Adult Contemporary”Billboard. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  15. Jump up^ Blistein, Jon (March 31, 2015). “Janelle Monae Flows Through New Song ‘Yoga'”Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  16. Jump up^ “Grammy Nominations 2016: See the Full List of Nominees”Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 7, 2015.
  17. Jump up^ Mitchell, Gail (29 November 2015). “The Weeknd, ‘Uptown Funk’ and Jidenna Big Winners at 2015 Soul Train Awards”Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  18. Jump up^ “The Door That Opens You: Why Whippa Wiley Brings You Magic, Fear and Fancy”. Afropunk. November 10, 2014. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  19. Jump up^ Spanos, Brittany (28 June 2016). “Hear Jidenna’s Confident New Song ‘Chief Don’t Run'”Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  20. Jump up^ DJ Vlad. “Jidenna Details His Choice to Wear Tailored Suits as a Rapper”YouTube. VladTV. Retrieved 6 November 2015.
  21. Jump up^ Weiner, Natalie (11 September 2015). “Jidenna Talks Classic Men and How He’s Influenced by Nigerian Music”Billboard. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  22. Jump up^ “Fashion Bomber of the Day: Jidenna from Brooklyn”Fashion Bomb Daily. The Fashion Bomb LLC. 2015-04-17. Retrieved 2016-08-24.
  23. Jump up^ Coleman, C. Vernon (February 21, 2015). “Watch Jidenna and Roman GianArthur’s ‘Classic Man’ Video”. XXL Mag. Retrieved 2015-03-12.
  24. Jump up^ “Marvel’s Luke Cage Music – S1E5: “Just To Get A Rep” – TuneFind”.
  25. Jump up^ http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/issa-loses-momentum-stagnant-insecure-245087. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart history (Billboard 200)”Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  27. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart history (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)”Billboard. Retrieved February 28,2017.
  28. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart history (Rap Albums)”Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  29. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart history (Canadian Albums)”Billboard. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  30. Jump up^ http://www.hotnewhiphop.com/jidenna-announces-release-date-for-debut-album-the-chief-news.28446.html
  31. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart History: Billboard Hot 100”BillboardPrometheus Global Media. Retrieved August 30, 2016.
  32. Jump up^ “Jidenna Album & Song Chart History: Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs”BillboardPrometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  33. Jump up^ “Chart Search for Jidenna, Hot R&B Songs”Billboard. Retrieved April 19, 2015.
  34. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart History: Canadian Hot 100”BillboardPrometheus Global Media. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
  35. Jump up^ “Jidenna”Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 14, 2016.
  36. Jump up to:a b “Gold & Platinum – RIAA”Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved February 7, 2017.
  37. Jump up^ “Jidenna – Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)”Billboard. Retrieved October 19,2016.
  38. Jump up^ “Classic Man – Jidenna – Vevo”VEVO. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  39. Jump up^ “Yoga – Janelle Monáe & Jidenna – Vevo”. VEVO. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  40. Jump up^ “Jidenna Trending singer releases ‘Classic man’ remix with Kendrick LamarPulse.com.gh. Joey Akan. Retrieved 22 February 2016.
  41. Jump up^ “Long Live the Chief – Jidenna – Vevo”. VEVO. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  42. Jump up^ “Knickers – Jidenna – Vevo”. VEVO. Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  43. Jump up^ “Little Bit More – Jidenna – Vevo”. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
  44. Jump up^ “Grammy Nominees 2016: The Full List”. 7 December 2013. Archived from the originalon December 7, 2014. Retrieved 7 December 2015.

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