Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend Jhene Aiko’s show in February next year since I am not in town when she plays here.
29 yo Aiko was supposed to have her debut album out already 2003, but it took another eleven years to release Jhene’s first album Sail Out (Grammy-nominated)
Trip is her third long player and in former times we would have called it a “double album” (on vinyl) containing nothing less than 22 songs where she collaborates with Big Sean, Swae Lee, Twenty88 and other hiphop arists.
Jhene Aiko lost her brother Miyagi in 2012 to cancer and in her process of grief she turned to drugs. Trip is a product of the process.
“As a concept album, Trip aims to translate the hallucinogenic highs of weed, LSD, and shrooms into sound. Befitting its length, these are highs that last for hours on end. The airiness of Aiko’s voice blends well into the spare, psychedelia-inspired productions courtesy of Dot Da Genius, Fisticuffs, and Amaire Johnson among others.”
Aiko was secretly married to Dot Da Genius in 2014 and divorced very publivly two years later with her husband badmouthing her on Twitter.
She talks about that failed marriage in Never Call Me:
Okay, now you wanna say all that I done to ya
You knew all along that I wasn’t the one for you
So let’s stop pretending like we were in love
We never shared anything but the drugs
We were both numb, never had anything real between us
This is not the I-am-happy-and-sing-about-it-album, but it is an album of musical reflection about things that did not end good. It is also an album where Aiko is investigating where she stand in life.
The world’s a fucking mess
It’s gone to shit
And I am every bit a part of it
I may have started it
I try to find a brighter sight
An elevated, higher sight
It’s out of sight
Not everything is hopeless, though. There is a beautiful duet where Aiko sings with her little daughter Namiko Love. A song where Aiko and Namiko basically do nothing else than to say that they love one another (“You Are My World”)
“That was a special moment. She’s the one that sort of wakes me up out of this whole trip, this dream state — which [is true] in real life. She’s the one that brings me back to reality. Like, ‘You need to get it together.’ Especially the older she gets,” Jhene Aiko told NPR.
“Taken on its own terms, it’s a dreamy, innovative, unified and unusual album that can function as either a lean-forward experience with a loose storyline, or an atmospheric-R&B outing that creates an environment all its own.” (Variety)