Album Review: Jhené Aiko “Trip”

Aiko’s new album takes listeners on a psychedelic journey

Kahlil Dukes

Los Angeles female R&B artist Jhené Aiko has just released her second project, “Trip.” The 29-year old has given music fans a 22-song album that expresses her difficulties dealing with the death of her brother Miyagi (who died of cancer), mental breakdowns and her experience with various drugs she experimented with to escape the pain. 

Photo by Kayla Johnson/ Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

“Trip,” part of a three-part project called MAP (Movie, Album, Poetry) is full of the artist’s mellow, laid back and relaxing vocals, as well as some feature artists like Big Sean, Swae Lee, Kurupt, Dr. Chill, Brandi, Mali Music, Namiko Love and more. The album takes all listeners on a 86-minute journey of different feelings and emotions. “Nobody” will be left taken away by Aiko’s voice, poetry, and unique and soulful sound. 

“While We’re Young”, Jhené expresses how vital it is for us (as listeners) to appreciate good “Moments” in our lives, especially “When We Love.” Whether we love another human being or a specific activity, she believes that we can find a “New Balance” when we’re going through difficult situations or adjusting to changes. 

However, Aiko finds a “Newer Balance” as fictional character Penny throughout the album, traveling alone and experimenting various drugs to escape hardships of her life. As one song transitions smoothly to the next, Aiko continues her lonesome journey. Yet, she is taking us right along with her. While she becomes “Overstimulated,” listeners become immobile in her thoughts. Lost – in her voice. 

Won’t let the day get in the way / We’re on a plane to inner space / Don’t be afraid, give it away / We gotta make a great escape.

She sings on track “Psilocybin,” drifting our minds and bodies into a place we’ve never elevated to. While the chorus sings:

Right place, right time / Right mind, right now

Right direction / By your side / You and I, do or die / Who am I? (Who am I?) /Your reflection.

You began to realize that Jhené appears to be talking to herself, as she has taken a drug (mushrooms) that has caused her to hallucinate. 

She ends with a second chorus in the same track, giving us advice that we can use from the beginning of the album to the end. 

Open up your heart and let me in, let me in / I will not let you down / Don’t trip, I gotcha / Open up your mind and you’ll feel it, the healing / Go slowly, go slower / No need to rush it.

For those interested in this album, please buckle up for a “Trip” you won’t want to end. 

A ride – into paradise.

A journey – hidden in the sky.


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