Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor
Jhene Aiko has released a 22-track LP entitled Trip. The songs on this album discuss Aiko grieving the loss of her brother, Miyagi. She experiences a rollercoaster of emotions and turns to drugs to cope with the pain. In the album, she opens up with her fans about her experimentations and some addictions to LSD, marijuana, cocaine, Adderall, and mushrooms. Despite her mention of drug use, she brings reality to the situation by explaining the many ways in which people attempt to deal with a loss, such as replacement and even suicide. Aiko discusses the importance of her journey to understand that some individuals simply cannot be replaced.
Trip is only one part of a multimedia project comprising of an album, a short film, and a book of poetry. Jhene Aiko refers to this project as a MAP (Movie, Album, Poetry). She introduces a character, Penny, who is supposed to be her purest form. On an Instagram post she explained, “In [my brother’s] presence, I was confident and always so sure. I was Penny. Since that day, I have been incomplete, losing all direction and sense of self.” Aiko describes her desires to get back to who she was before her brother passed, and the album reflects just that.
In 90 minutes, she tells us of her journey of wanting to find the love she felt from her brother. Along the way, she tried to find this love in other men. In the song “Moments” feat. Big Sean, the lyrics are “My mama said love is the answer/ So when I call, you better answer…No substitutes, you’re the one and only/ Please take away the stress I don’t need.” Jhene Aiko falls in love with men thinking they can fulfill what her brother gave her, but she ends up heartbroken and stuck.
She moves on to the next vice and subliminally mentions suicide. In the song “Jukai,” she talks about her wanting to be alone with her brother, but she isn’t successful.
Eventually, she turns to the happiness her daughter gives her and wanting to the best mother she can.
Their mommy-daughter duet entitled “Sing to Me” is a gear switch in not only Jhene’s life, the album as a whole. Her focus shifts to the joy of being a mother.
“Sing to Me” is followed by “Ascension” feat. Brandy, and serves as her prayer for liberation. She ends the album with “Trip” which depicts the physical trips she takes when feeling low.
This work is truly eye-opening. Jhene exposes a vulnerable side to her that she has been hiding throughout her career. In the end, fans can understand the true beauty of it all as they witness the growth and courage she displays through her journey.
Trip the movie is now available on JheneisPenny.com and 2fish, the poetry book, will be available this fall. To get the full Jhene Aiko experience, be sure to check out all parts of this work. Aiko will also begin her Trip tour on Nov. 14. Check out her Instagram to see if she will be stopping in a city near you.