Jhené Aiko Narrates Track by Track of Her Album ‘TRIP’ with NPR

At 29, Aiko has experienced the pain of divorce and death. But Trip is about more than chasing love or a temporary high. As she explains, track-by-track, it’s the confessional story of her grappling with the nature of desire rooted in all human experience as she measures her mistakes and awakens to her own power. She’s a brave soul — equal parts vulnerable and visionary — for taking us along for the ride. Check out the track by track breakdown below via NPR


“A few years ago, I took my first road trip by myself to Big Sur. I was going through a difficult relationship, I missed my brother and was just going crazy. And I had taken some magic mushrooms with me. As I was driving up there, I was listening to instrumental music and classical music and singing over it out loud and talking to myself. I was recording everything on my voice memo. It wasn’t even with an album or anything in mind; it was just for me. I just started doing that often. After Big Sur, I started hiking and writing and taking pictures. I formed a habit of escaping and going on these trips. I still do it and I find that it really helps me. Psychedelics aided in that. While recording new songs for this project, I revisited the notebook that I had been keeping. The song ‘LSD’ pretty much sets you up for the trip.”


“One night I was in [the studio] with the Fisticuffs and we were partaking in marijuana and we were watching a documentary about Aokigahara, the suicide forest in Japan. My great-grandmother was born in Hawaii, but she’s actually Japanese. My grandfather is Japanese, too. So I’ve always wanted to go. After my brother passed — actually, my whole life — I’ve been very interested in death. Not afraid of it, but interested and intrigued. I was watching that [documentary] and it was such a beautiful forest. Maybe people go there and they just feel at peace. Of course, everyone has different reasons for making that decision.

“It’s definitely a place I’ve been in my mind: ‘Hmm, if I were to decide to do that, how would I do it?’ So we started with a guitar and I wanted to write a song about that place and go there in my mind. I know that sounds morbid, but it was true. It was a fantasy of me going there. It’s not super obvious in the song, but I say how my feet keep touching the ground [and] it’s not working for me. Then I’m saved by a guy. But in real life I was on a hike in Big Sur and I was getting emotional. Then I looked up through the trees and I saw the sun. It felt like the sun saved me, which, in itself, is [symbolic]: the Son of God or the sun in our solar system. It just felt like a love story.

“It’s a double/triple entendre: The male voice that you hear throughout the album is the love interest or my conscience. He also represents the devil disguised as an angel, because he keeps offering me these drugs. It’s like, ‘Who are you, really?’ He appears at first to be an angel, but then he turns into someone that is not.”

“Moments” ft. Big Sean

“We actually worked on ‘Moments’ in Hawaii. I was on a trip with [Big] Sean and we recorded it out there. There were even some sounds that we picked up from hikes we took and put on the track. Sean really had the ‘Moments’ idea. I wasn’t sure when we recorded it if we were going to have it be a part of our TWENTY88 [collaborative project] or for me or for him. But then, when it came down to it, I realized it fit perfectly within my storyline.”

Read the full track breakdown here


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