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This story was told to Jessica Cruel and edited for length and clarity. Our latest subject is singer and author Jhené Aiko. He directed her video for The Pressure” and featured on her single Bed Peace” in 2013.

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JHENE AIKOJhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo was born on March 16, 1988 and raised in Los Angeles, California. Jhene Aiko grew up in a middle class family on Rodeo and LaBrea. At times life felt very real, since they lived a few blocks from a blighted neighborhood. She vividly recalls the L.A. riots when everything was on fire where they lived. As the family drove up the hill in LaBrea to her grandmother’s house, she looked back and thought the world was coming to an end.

Jhené Aiko has recruited 21 Savage and Summer Walker for the official remix of her single Triggered (Freestyle).” The song is Aiko’s only new single this year (with her on lead), following up her 2017 LP Trip.

Aiko’s music is often described as soulful and atmospheric. She embodies a soft-spoken yet unapologetic street credibility that has made her a favorite hook singer” for many rappers. She has sung hooks for Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and 2 Chainz to name a few. However, Aiko is a successful solo artist as well. Her second solo album, Sail Out, peaked at number eight on Billboard charts in 2013 remaining on the charts for forty-six weeks and the album’s radio hit, The Worst, remained on Billboard’s hot 100 for twenty weeks in 2014. While her third solo album, Souled Out, spent ten weeks at the number three spot for top album sales in 2014. Her most recent album, Trip, released in 2017, spent fifty-seven weeks on Billboard’s top R&B album charts.

In the second video for, You Never Call Me, described as a love-letter to Slauson Hills where Aiko grew up, viewers are dazzled by palm trees, flashy cars, and the relaxed vibe and effortless groove that is LA cool. The video aptly subtitled, Slauson Hills Edition, is reminiscent of 90s rap videos where Black and Brown folks are seen hanging out around town on another sunny day in LA. The ominous spirit that haunts the first video is noticeably absent in the second. If the first video for, You Never Call Me, is an expression of Aiko’s multicultural heritage, the second video is an expression of her LA roots.

Rapper, writer and actor Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino is a good friend, collaborator and acting mentor to Aiko. He directed her video for The Pressure” and featured on her single Bed Peace” in 2013. Having Childish as an admirer and close confidant is a great step for Aiko’s career and shows that her talent appeals to a broader audience outside of music.

Afterwards, Aiko and her young daughter, Namiko Love, serenaded the audience with an original song Aiko wrote titled, Sing to Me. The performance was a touching display of affection between three generations of women, and as such, offers an opportunity to reflect on the role Aiko’s mother’s racial heritage has played in Aiko’s musical career. After all, she is her mother’s daughter.


In June 2013, Jhene was featured on the song Beware” by Big Sean, which hit the Top 40 and was her first song to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100. 21. Jhené’s debut album ‘Souled Out’ was released in September 2014.

By drawing on their Hapa identity while situating themselves within historically Black and Brown musical and cultural aesthetics these artists are contributing to what ethnomusicologist, T. Carlis Roberts calls the new Black” movement in music, a trend that embraces broader definitions of what it means to be Black and Brown. According to Roberts, Not only has this process resulted in more visible diversity in media and other social realms, it has productively worked to unseat the Black-white dichotomy as the paradigm of racial conversation.”3 Musicians like Aiko are unseating several racial dichotomies.


I would describe myself as a mother, lover, writer, and singer, but always a mother first,” said Jhené Aiko via a long distance phone call from her car, which is stationed somewhere in Los Angeles. The Grammy-nominated musician is perhaps best known for her 2015 record Sail Out and her recent collaborative album with boyfriend, the rapper Big Sean under the collective name Twenty88, but is more interested in discussing the trials and tribulations of motherhood and her love of poetry than charting her meteoric rise to fame that began over a decade ago.

Born Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo, the star cut her teeth singing backup for late ‘90s boy band B2K, before dropping out of a deal with Sony to release her debut album to focus on her education. I was still a teenager and I needed to take some time to find my purpose,” she reflects. That purpose came in the form of Jhené’s first and only pregnancy to date. The singer gave birth to daughter Namiko Love at the age of 20 in 2008. I never intended to have a baby so young, but as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was overwhelmed with a new focus and drive. I knew I didn’t want a regular job, I wanted to provide a life for me and my daughter that was beyond myself.” Around that time, the singer made her first mixtape and it’s been a steady uphill trajectory from there.

Aiko didn’t just appear on R&B singer ‘Ryan’s debut music video for Take It Slow, she dated him as well. The pair started dating in 2005 and remained together until 2008. The relationship went beyond your typical youthful romance, however: in 2008, ‘Ryan fathered Aiko’s first child, Namiko. Despite ‘Ryan being the most well-known of the two when they first paired up, Aiko has subsequently taken the lead in the career stakes, with ‘Ryan failing to release any new offerings since the 2010 single, America’s most Wanted (%27Ryan).

As a lover of music from a young age, Aiko attempted to better her chances of a successful career as a recording artist by signing up to vocal lessons in Culver City, California. Aiko naturally shone at the lessons, but fate took an unexpected turn when she unexpectedly fell pregnant. Aiko felt unable to continue the lessons and quit. Of course, ending the lessons hasn’t held her back, and her subsequent success just goes to show that natural talent will always find a way.

Triggered,” which was released Tuesday with sparse accompanying visuals, has all the makings of a whirlwind diss track (and an Ariana Grande song, as it sounds pretty similar to Thank U, Next” with hints of Eminem’s flip-flopping ballad, Love the Way You Lie” ).


The “Wading” singer responded by stating that she and the Detroit rapper are good.” Aiko also revealed that her new album is going to be based on numerous experiences through freestyled rhymes. Big Sean replied to Jhene Aiko and shared how much he appreciates the singer’s support.

Hapa Music is Black and Brown” is a blog series that looks at the racial politics of multicultural Japanese American musicians. The first blog in the series features Jhené Aiko, while the others will comment on musician Judith Hill, and one of the most famous enka singers, Jero.

However, that all changed at the age of 12 when she inked a deal with Epic Records. She contributed her vocals to several tracks on the R&B group B2K album, B2K: The Remixes – Volume I. She was their opening act on their Scream Tour 3. She also appeared in many music videos, including ‘Ryan’s debut video Take It Slow.

My name is Jhene Aiko and you sang my song. She’s the feather-toned vocalist who’s dominating R&B right now, and Jhené Aiko shows no signs of stopping. Here’s everything you need to know about the ‘Trip’ star.

Jhene has received praise for her live performances and stage presence. She has even been compared to singer Sade. According to critics, she has an ease and a calm that rides along ever so gently” as she moves fluidly between each song on her set list.

Aiko (Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo) was born on March 16, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. Being raised around her two older sisters who formed a girl group, she began her career at an early age, debuting her vocals with B2K in 2002 as a playback singer. Building her underground buzz through the release of several singles and mixtapes, her music career catapulted in the year 2013, landing her a spot on Drake’s Nothing Was The Same tour. Her single, 3:16 also released that year, giving her voice notoriety by a host of listeners.

Jhené Aiko got her start contributing back-up vocals for R&B group B2K. In 2013 the performer earned her first Top 40 hit after appearing on Big Sean’s single “Beware,” which also featured Lil Wayne. Later that year, she released an EP titled Sail Out, which included “The Worst.” The track peaked at No. 43 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The remix of Triggered” remains faithful to the construction of the original; it has the same sleepy tempo. 21 Savage and Walker add new lyrics that reflect on awful break-ups. 21 Savage’s verse in particular laments how is ex-girlfriend is with a lame dude” now. Walker and Aiko’s voices blend together seamlessly, nearly indistinguishable from one another as the song progresses.

Jhené Aiko and her daughter Namiko try nine things they’ve never done before, from riding a tandem bicycle and making their own lipgloss, to drawing mother-daughter portraits and competing in a bubble gum blowing contest.

After collaborating with other artists during her early to mid-teens, she took a brief hiatus to finish her education. In 2011, she announced her return to music with the mixtape, Sailing Soul(s), comprising dreamy, minimal R&B vocals; it was entirely written by Aiko and featured collaborations with Drake , Gucci Mane , and Kanye West In 2012, she signed with Def Jam through No I.D.’s ARTium imprint and released the single “3:16AM.” The following year proved to be pivotal for Aiko – she was featured on Big Sean ‘s Top 40 hit “Beware” and teamed up with Drake for an appearance on his highly anticipated album Nothing Was the Same. Critics praised her performance with Drake , which raised her profile globally.

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