Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo is an American singer and songwriter, who embarked on her music career contributing vocals and appearing in several music videos for R&B group B2K. At the time, she was known as B2K member Lil’ Fizz’s “cousin”, though she is not actually related to him. It was used as a marketing tool, suggested by Sony and Epic Records, to promote Aiko through B2K and attract an audience. In 2003, Aiko was set to release her debut album, My Name Is Jhené, through her labels Sony, The Ultimate Group and Epic, however the album was never released, with Aiko eventually asking to be released from the label in order to continue her education.
In March 2011, Aiko made her return to music with the release of her first full-length project, a mixtape titled Sailing Soul(s). On December 16, 2011, Aiko signed a recording contract with American record producer No I.D.’s record label ARTium, distributed through Def Jam Recordings. In 2013, Aiko appeared on Big Sean’s single “Beware”, also featuring Lil Wayne, which became her first top 40 single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. In November 2013, she released her first project for Artium and Def Jam, an extended play (EP), titled Sail Out. The EP was supported by the singles “3:16AM”, “Bed Peace” and “The Worst”, the latter of which went on to become certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Aiko released her major-label debut album, Souled Out, on September 9, 2014. On September 22, 2017, she released her second studio album Trip.
2015–present: Twenty88 and Trip
In February, 2015, Aiko was nominated for three Grammy Awards at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, including Best R&B Song for “The Worst” and Best Urban Contemporary Album for Sail Out. The same month it was announced that Aiko would join rapper J. Cole on his tour entitled, Forest Hills Drive Tour. On March 19, 2015 Aiko released the free song “Living Room Flow.” Aiko covered “In a World of My Own / Very Good Advice” from the Disney film Alice in Wonderland, the cover was included on the “We Love Disney” compilation album which was released in October 2015.
In March 2016, Aiko announced a collaboration album with rapper Big Sean, under the name Twenty88, their self-titled debut album was made available to stream exclusively on TIDAL for four days, and was made available for download on April 1. According to the duo, “TWENTY88 tells the story of the highs and lows of a relationship, with insights into conflict, memories, love, sex, and more and features production from Key Wane, Detail, and Tommy Brown.” From late 2016 to mid-2017, Aiko released numerous non-album singles such as “Maniac”, “First Fuck” with 6lack and “Hello Ego” featuring Chris Brown. The lead single to her second studio album, “While We’re Young’, was released in June 2016. Aiko’s sophomore album, Trip, was released without a prior announcement on September 22, 2017. The lead single, “While We’re Young”, was released on June 9, 2017, for streaming and digital download. A 23-minute autobiographical film titled after the album was also released a day before Trip on September 21, 2017, co-directed by Aiko. On September 27, 2017, American singer Lana Del Rey revealed that Aiko would be opening for her on select dates of her concert tour entitled the LA to the Moon Tour during January 2018. Aiko toured with Del Rey from January 5 to 13.
On May 8, 2019, Aiko released “Triggered (freestyle)” which debuted at number fifty-one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at number 3 on the US R&B Songs. It’s the first official single from her forthcoming 2019 album. The freestyle discussed various topics, including her past relationships. There were immediate rumors that the song might have been addressing Aiko’s ex-boyfriend, Big Sean. However, Aiko went on Twitter to disperse the rumors about “Triggered (freestyle)” being a diss track.