Ushering in a dapper hip hop era: Jidenna's "Classic Man"

I've been sleepin' on this guy. I'm usually a fan of old school and some new school hip hop, but Jidenna brings a new flavor to the industry. I'm not just talking about his catchy beat—which uncannily sounds like 'Fancy' by Iggy Azalea—but also his embracement of dressing well. His lyrics don't speak exclusively about clothing (my pocket square this, my jacket that), but rather about what his clothes and attitude communicate.

Check out the video (explicit lyrics):

I admire Jidenna's style. With almost 12m video views, and motifs in the video revolving around human judgement, I believe he may compose an interesting impact on how today's youth and young adults perceive themselves.

Occasionally, negative perceptions are implied when wearing a suit:

  • Shady
  • Power or money-hungry

But, suits also have a direct correlation with the individual's personality. The above naturally can be true for a variety of groups, depending on if they indeed possess the character traits listed. And this all comes back to classic phrases like, "don't judge a book by its cover".

Interestingly enough however, is that wearing a suit can also:

  • Receive a preconceived notion of class
  • Bring a whole lot of respect
you pull out rubber bands, I pull out an envelope

In Jidenna's video, he blatantly shows the respect he receives based on his sense of style coupled with his gentleman-like attitude. His lyrics confidently compare and contrast the differences between his [dapper, "old fashioned"] image and the images of others by saying lines like, "you pull out rubber bands, I pull out an envelope".

My Interpretation of the Lyrics and Video

Whether or not Jidenna's stance on dressing well is used for ill-intent, the essence of the lyrics and video capture the fact that a man can be a smooth, cool, lovable cat simply by dressing well and acting accordingly as a gentleman.

Sean Ireton