After immediately earning a spot at the table thanks to his undeniably viral debut single “Classic Man,” Janelle Monáe-co-signed rap and fashion Rubik’s cube Jidenna saw his debonair ebb and flow hit a snag with the release of his debut album, The Chief. The LP suffered from too many label boardroom meetings in attempts to capitalize on “Classic Man’s” wave and stretched the focus of Jidenna’s artistry too thin. Seeing that its February drop date is considered a few years ago in accordance with today’s fast-paced catalog updates, The Chief snaps back with the quick-hitting Boomerang EP to keep his name from being grouped amongst the fly-by-night artists.
The six-track project’s inconsistency is its consistency in the fact that, like the bulk of his music, Jidenna spends most of his time serenading nameless exotic goddesses (there’s even one who cusses him out in Creole throughout the EP’s 25-minute stretch). He also focuses on breathing new life into existing records he feels may have been slept-on the first time around.
Nigerian-bred reggae star Burna Boy lends a friendly, catchy verse to the “Little Bit More (Remix),” a digestible tropical number that has yet to catch fire on the international party circuit — but not for lack of quality. The ever ubiquitous Quavo is called upon to lead the charge for the “Bambi (Remix)” alongside Maleek Berry and Sarkodie but the sappy ballad has probably seen all the juice drained from its venison-flavored center.
Boomerang’s top half not only features the best material of the extended player but some of Jidenna’s short but credible career. The best of the bunch, “Spy Candy,” plays call and response with underrated songstress Tiwa Savage and builds on what made “Classic Man” so great — Nana Kwabena’s vibrant keys and a chorus that brainwashes you to sing along. The addictive title track is right on its heels with a breezy calypso riddim and inviting trumpeting as ‘Denna melodically beckons on the hook, “Bang, bang, boomerang I can’t believe it all began with a joke and champagne.” If he keeps this up, he just may become this generation’s Lionel Richie — invincible light-skinned swag and all. Check the historic credits; that’s a great thing.
Jidenna will have to keep driving MP3’s to the masses before he escapes those “why isn’t he bigger?” conversations but Boomerang puts the undisputed stamp on his studio capabilities and eliminates him from being counted out anytime soon.