Jidenna released his new album, ME YOU & GOD, last month, and he’s spoken to HipHopDX about the inspiration behind the deeply romantic and sexually-charged lovefest.
Created during the coronavirus pandemic, the global lockdown gave the Nigerian-American star some much needed time and space to figure out exactly what he wanted to do with his third album, which sonically taps into the psychedelic soul and funk that he listens to at home.
His songwriting was also inspired by the pandemic — but not in the linear sense. Instead of writing about the virus and how it affected the world, Jidenna took a different approach, seeking connection by flying women into L.A. to spend time with him during what he dubs his “hoe phase,” which in turn lit the creative fuse and sparked the early ideas for the album’s theme.
“Like most people who are alone, they’re trying to be with somebody; so my goal was to fly out women over a certain span and keep my music inspired, you know? That’s all I was gonna do,” Jidenna explained.
“I was having great conversations, I was dating some amazing women, and in the course of that I start making the music and somewhere in there I realized this pleasure, this movement to pleasure just feels very different, it feels very personal, intimate. I had never really revealed this, and I liked it.”
However, in the midst of his time freely engaging with multiple women, Jidenna fell in love with a “beautiful companion” who went on to become one of the main protagonists of ME YOU & GOD and a key ingredient of his songwriting.
“I literally met a woman who I knew instantly that I was gonna ride with her, she was gonna be a companion, and we were gonna ride the saddle, you know? I just knew it,” he recalled. “So that process, from going from an amazing hoe phase in 2019 to 2020 where I’m trying to date a little more intentionally, then landing with this beautiful companion. It was what I was going through [that inspired the album].”
Asked whether he’s still seeing the woman who helped inspire the album, Jidenna laughed and replied: “Oh yeah. Thank God I am. This would be a tough rollout if I weren’t.”
Among the topics explored on ME YOU & GOD is polyamory — a form of ethical, or consensual, non-monogamy that involves having romantic or sexual relationships with multiple partners at the same time — which is something Jidenna has practiced in the past.
On the track “SWEETBiTTERS,” he has an open and honest conversation with the woman he loves about a previous triad polyamory relationship, which starts because he smells the lingering perfume of an ex in his building’s elevator.
While some opposed his opinions on non-monogamous relationships back in 2019, a lot of people appeared to be onboard with his outlook on sexual liberation and the non-traditional union. But “SWEETBiTTERS” wasn’t made in response to that; it was Jidenna displaying growth, showing unbridled honesty and realizing he needed to lay it all out there in order for his current relationship to thrive.
“I was in an elevator and I could smell the perfume of one of the women I had been with; it was very specific,” he explained. “And so I went into the apartment and talked to the woman who would eventually be my partner now, and I told her the story. I was like, ‘I haven’t told you the full story and I need to tell you what it was like for me in my last polyamorous triad, or triplo, whatever you wanna call it.'”
On that same track, Jidenna raps about taking part in a beach orgy in Bali, and although musicians are known to take creative licence with their music, the Grammy-nominated rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and actor revealed this wasn’t the case on “SWEETBiTTERS.”
“Everything is true minus anything I had to do to change a name or an area,” he said. “Like I said, [the orgy happened in] Bali but it wasn’t in Bali, it was in another place and I didn’t wanna say the other place [to protect] everybody involved. But yeah, everything is true.”
ME YOU & GOD is out now via Wondaland — listen to it here.
In addition to the new album, Jidenna will be heading out on his headlining North American The Silk Road tour in July and August. Get tickets here and see the full list of dates below.
14 – Showbox SoDo – Seattle, WA
15 – Vogue – Vancouver, BC
16 – Roseland – Portland, OR
18 – Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
19 – The Warfield – San Francisco, CA
21 – Observatory – Santa Ana, CA
22 – The Novo – Los Angeles, CA
23 – House of Blues – San Diego, CA
25 – The Van Buren – Phoenix, AZ
27 – South Side Ballroom – Dallas, TX
28 – Emos – Austin, TX
29 – House of Blues – Houston, TX
1 – Joy Theater – New Orleans, LA
2 – Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA
4 – The Ritz – Raleigh, NC
5 – The NorVA – Norfolk, VA
6 – Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD
8 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia, PA
10 – Terminal 5 – New York, NY
11 – The Fillmore – Silver Spring, MD
12 – House of Blues – Boston, MA
15 – History – Toronto, ON
17 – Majestic Theater – Detroit, MI
18 – The Vic – Chicago, IL
20 – First Avenue – Minneapolis, MN