Who is Jhené Aiko? She’s a Japanese, African American, and Native American singer/song writer born and raised in Los Angeles, California. If you were a B2K fan, then you probably heard her vocals on several of the boy group’s albums and bonus tracks.
Fast forwarding to more recent times, she signed a recording contract with producer No I.D.’s record label Artium, distributed through Def Jam Recordings. While doing my due diligence research, I stumbled upon some introspective information about the artist regarding her reasoning for returning to the music:
“Shortly before I conceived my daughter, I stepped back into the field and took a meeting with a label head. In this meeting, I was innocently told, to ‘sell’ myself when walking into these meetings. That’s when I decided I would ‘sail’ myself rather than sell myself.”
On March 16, 2011 she released an album entitled Sailing Souls. The majority of the writing was conceived by Aiko, while producer Fisticuffs handled most of the tape’s production. More recently, you might have heard her featured on Kendrick Lamar’s Overly Addicted track titled “Growing Apart (To Get Closer).”
Enough of her backstory. Dive into her latest release, “3:16AM,” off her upcoming Souled Out album. The dark and moody tones playfully linger around Aiko’s powerful trance-like vocals. The slight sounds of psychedelic production are perfectly meshed with hip-hop instruments, so well that first you’re hypnotized, and then you’re thrown into a B-boy bop by the end of the song. After streaming “3:16 AM,” jump to the visuals, which find Aiko in a contemplative state in various locations and unwonted situations — check it out here.