Jhené Aiko opened up to Ebro Darden about her past insecurities and what it was like collaborating with rap icon Nas on her latest record.
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“Growing up, I was always self-conscious and dealt with a lot of self-esteem issues,” the singer admitted. “I don’t know, I just never liked my face. That was one of the things I dealt with when I was younger. I couldn’t look at pictures of myself. I hated video shoots, photoshoots, all those things. I almost thought that I had that thing, what is it, body [dismorphia] disorder where you just like see yourself very distorted when you look at yourself. Basically, I’m just not in that place anymore.”
There were plenty of noteworthy additions to Chilombo including Ab-Soul, Nas, Future, Miguel, Dr. Chill, John Legend, Ty Dolla $ign, and boyfriend Big Sean. Speaking of her Nas feature, Jhené shared that all of the Chilombo tracks were already full songs before she added any other artists. “I just wanted it to be this full-bodied piece of work,” she said. “There was a point in time when I was like, ‘I don’t need features. I can do a song by myself and it can be tight [with] just me.'”
“But then it’s like, the element of collaborating with people and coming together,” Jhené continued. “I did the full complete song and was like, ‘This beat reminds me—I hear Nas on it.’ He came, I talked to him about the song and what I meant with certain things and he went in and killed it… It was legendary. I can’t believe Nas is right there recording a verse for my album. Wow. Sounding just like Nas.” She also added that if she was “solely” a rapper—because she dropped a few bars on Chilombo—Jhené said, “I would be Ab-Soul.” Check out Jhené Aiko and Ebro Darden below along with her “10k Hours” collaboration with Nas.