Originally published March 26, 2020.
R&B sensation Jhene Aiko has released her much anticipated and awaited third album “Chilombo” on Friday, March 6.
The title of the album is named after Aiko as “Chilombo” is her last name. In an interview with Billboard, Aiko explained her father changed his last name to Chilombo in his early adulthood. The name derives from Africa which means “wild beast.”
Aiko claims she wanted to show pride in her family name and where she originates from as she embodies her inner wild side through her newfound confidence.
The album was recorded in Hawaii where her family is from and Aiko depicts it as a place of “healing” and that the recording experience was a huge “jam-session” that was raw and real.
Aiko wanted the music to make people have their own healing session as they listen to the album.
She explains the sound bowl instrumentals used in the album are meant to open up the chakras in the body.
The chakras are derived from Hinduism as part of meditation practices. This can incorporate various forms of yoga, breathing techniques and other exercises meant to relax the body. The sound bowls are used to create different feelings and emotions while listening to each song.
Many of the songs were freestyles or free-flows as Aiko depicts the recording process as being spontaneous and natural. She looks forward to fans’ reactions to some of the star-studded features on the project like H.E.R, Nas, Big Sean, Miguel and more.
The album is a homecoming for Aiko as she navigates her family roots and dives into her self-identity with her relationships.
The first single Aiko released for this project is called Triggered (freestyle). This single is mellow and very personal as Aiko is expressing her frustrations with her lover. The song is describing that she feels her lover has made her “triggered” as it seems he is not giving his all to Aiko and so she’s “bitter” yet she’s still in love with him despite how poorly he is treating her.
The next single is “None of Your Concern” featuring Big Sean. Aiko is explaining how she has given up on saving the relationship with her lover as it seems he has shown little interest in being present and wanting to make things work. Aiko expresses that her lover is moving on and she “can feel [the lover] fading off” from her. This song is showing how the relationship is crumbling and that neither Aiko and the lover are trying to patch the wounds.
Big Sean is playing the “lover” as he responds to Aiko’s verses. He describes in his rap that he was not ready for a new relationship as he was still recovering from the heartache of losing his previous partner. He claims that Aiko should have moved on from him but she kept backtracking to him knowing that he is not good for her.
These lead singles dive into the issue of broken relationships. Aiko has been in tough situations with her lover that seem unfixable but she is willing to look past the bad times to make ends meet as she truly cares for the person she loves.
The tone of the album is mellow and intimate as most of Aiko’s albums are. It specifically focuses on the trials and tribulations of relationships and finding self-identity.
Chilombo is an album that shows Aiko’s vulnerability and breaks down the pain that she has endured. Throughout the album, she describes her newfound voice and has learned to follow her heart when she knows what’s right.
In the song “Speak,” Aiko no longer wants to feel lost in her relationship and be trapped under her lover’s shadow. She wants to maintain individuality and not feel consumed by the relationship.
Chilombo is a well put together album with a message to women that they can have their own individuality and self-identity in their relationships. Aiko teaches that it is not necessary to feel lost in a relationship and that it should not feel one-sided.
More importantly, there is nothing wrong with staying together and working through tough times in a rocky relationship. The album’s theme is that women should feel a true partnership with their lover and feel heard.
Chilombo is available for purchase and streaming on all music platforms. Aiko is going on the “Magic Hour” tour this spring from May 1st-June 27th. Tickets are currently sold out as of early March.