EXCLUSIVE: Jidenna Releases New Single ‘Feng Shui’
Munachi Osegbu

With HBO’s Insecure back on the air for its fourth season, Issa Rae continues her reign as a choice advocate for great music. For the show’s premiere episode, “Lowkey Feelin’ Myself,” her selections such as “A BOY IS A GUN” from Tyler, the Creator’s 2019 album IGOR and new songs by Yung Baby Tate (“Never Lonely”) and Pink Sweat$ (“Ride With Me”) made the night an event for millions of viewers. And now, ahead of the series’ third episode, Issa and her Raedio label are releasing a chakra-realigning new song by a returning Jidenna.

“Feng Shui,” his first single since 85 to Africa, is an ESSENCE exclusive premiere to highlight the premise of “Lowkey Thankful,” which finds Molly’s family cracking jokes about her Asian Bae (Alexander Hodge). The song will join acts such as St. Panther and Cautious Clay on the Insecure Season 4 soundtrack. Jidenna offers a lively Afrobeat-infused track that finds us bouncing alongside his flows over production by Steve Rhythm, Dub Sonata, Maitré D and Nana. “They make it easy they can’t see they just don’t know,” he directs towards those who talk down on the chief. “They wanna keep me in they chokehold where I won’t grow / I gotta be me I’ll go insane if I don’t go / What I’m a create it go free me from mind control.”

An absolutely spellbinding cut, “Feng Shui” hints at another energetic and engaging experience by the award-winning talent, which only excites creator-star Issa Rae.

“I absolutely love working on the music for Insecure and this season is no different,” Rae has shared. “Not only did we continue to select songs that elevate our storytelling, but we also had artists and songwriters create original music for the season.” That rich mix of her favorite songs, plus acts from her Raedio label (TeaMarr’s “Cool Enough”) makes this a surreal experience for creators and audiences alike. 

To double down on the excitement of the next Insecure episode, we spoke with the “Classic Man,” Jidenna, himself, about his artistic growth, collaborating with Issa, and what makes for a proper “Feng Shui” style. Listen to the jam below and tell a friend to tell a friend to share it on your timeline.

You made your acting debut on Insecure and showed how a Naija boi really does it at Issa Rae’s infamous yacht party. How has your professional relationship with her grown and how does “Feng Shui” factor into it?

JIDENNA: Our relationship started when we were in college. We would collaborate on theater productions and music. She used to put on these plays and she always wanted me to act, but I was focused on music, so I would produce different pieces for her to write and jam out to. She was always writing—even back then—her own works and was collaborating with Tracy Oliver [Girls Trip, Little]. Years later, Issa would always tell me that she sees me as an actor, so when I was on Insecure that was the birth of Jidenna the Actor. That really launched me into the acting world and I’ll never forget that. I was able to learn and grow from that, begin taking coaching lessons and take it more seriously because of Issa’s faith in me.

To grow with Issa from college productions to HBO productions, to get to the point where she has her own label is an amazing flip of the script. I love that I am able to put out a record via Raedio—especially during these times where artists can’t exactly be out amongst the people to share this. To be able to do a collaboration like this, where she’s involved in music is actually a sign of growth on Issa’s part, which is amazing.

Share with us how “Feng Shui” even came about. Who did you work with on this and how does the song hint at your next project?

JIDENNA: “Feng Shui” came as a result of working with Dub Sonata, Steve Rhythm, Nana Kwabena, and the “Bass Man” himself, my homie Dom. All these guys put together an amazing recreation of this Ebo Taylor record. He is like the Fela Kuti of Ghana. He performs the original Afrobeat sound with Highlife with funk and fuses it. We built upon that with Kits’ framework and as soon as I heard the jam I had that swankadelic feeling about it.

The next project is based on a fusion of psychedelic Afrofunk and hip-hop. “Feng Shui” is definitely an entry point into the project and serves a portal into previewing what’s coming next.

Everyone in the game knows you as the “Classic Man” with the impeccable style. We’ve seen it evolve over time, so I gotta ask what makes for a proper “feng shui” style that the people can learn from you or by listening to this song?

JIDENNA: If you apply the concept of “Feng Shui” to music or to style, it means clean, chic, simple, and special. That’s how you know you have the feng shui. It’s like you’re doing it without even trying. It’s effortless. Even though, in truth, to have proper feng shui you have to try a lot to get it right. It’s not easy and anybody who was a hoarder who cleaned out their space will tell you the same thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJzHFuMG35E&feature=youtu.be

When people hear “Feng Shui” for the first time what is the reaction you hope for?

JIDENNA: When the people hear this record for the first time—or at any time—I want them to feel liberated to free themselves, their bodies, and their spirits. I want them to feel fly in whatever they’re wearing. But most of all, it is a liberation song! They should be feeling they swankiest and most liberated self whenever this one is played.

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