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Jidenna On World Cafe

Jidenna performs live at WXPN's Free At Noon concert at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
Emma Silverstone
Jidenna performs live at WXPN's Free At Noon concert at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.

You know when somebody has that special something? The star quality you can't really describe but it's just there? Jidenna has that something.

He dresses like Mad Men's Don Draper went through the Wizard Of Oz car wash — he wears suits with incredible attention to detail, bright colors and a little humor and flair. Everything is tailored to perfection, but not so tailored that he can't dance and move — live on stage, he'll wind and twist his hips to the ground, and then spring up like he's doing calisthenics to prep for the Olympic long jump, all while singing and rapping. The guy is an entertainer. He had a huge hit a couple years ago with the song "Classic Man."

Jidenna was born in the United States to a Nigerian father and American mother, but he lived in Nigeria as a young child. When he was 5 years old, Jidenna's family was robbed at gunpoint — and he was shot. He's said that experience shaped the rest of his entire life, both in Nigeria and in America — we'll talk about how.

Jidenna has a new EP called Boomerang, but when he came to visit World Cafe in July, we talked about his album The Chief. It starts with a spoken-word piece, based on some advice Jidenna was given about traveling back to Nigeria to bury his father. The advice is delivered by a character named Uncle Palm Wine. Hear it and the complete session in the player above.

Copyright 2021 XPN. To see more, visit XPN.

Talia Schlanger hosts World Cafe, which is distributed by NPR and produced by WXPN, the public radio service of the University of Pennsylvania. She got her start in broadcasting at the CBC, Canada's national public broadcaster. She hosted CBC Radio 2 Weekend Mornings on radio and was the on-camera host for two seasons of the television series CBC Music: Backstage, as well as several prime-time music TV specials for CBC, including the Quietest Concert Ever: On Fundy's Ocean Floor. Schlanger also guest hosted various flagship shows on CBC Radio One, including As It Happens, Day 6 and Because News. Schlanger also won a Canadian Screen Award as a producer for CBC Music Presents: The Beetle Roadtrip Sessions, a cross-country rock 'n' roll road trip.
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