Early life and education
Jidenna Theodore Mobisson was born on May 4, 1985 in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, to Tama Mobisson, a white accountant, and Oliver Mobisson, a Nigerian Igbo academic. Jidenna grew up partially in Nigeria, where his father was working as a professor of computer science at Enugu State University. When Jidenna was 6 years old, the family moved back to the United States after they had suffered a kidnap attempt. In 1995, the family moved to Norwood, Massachusetts, and then to Milton, Massachusetts, in 2000. His father died in 2010.
In high school he became a co-founder of the rap group Black Spadez, and began producing, arranging and writing. Jidenna released his first album with Black Spadez as their final project at Milton Academy, where Jidenna graduated in 2003. Jidenna was accepted to Stanford University, where he began studying sound engineering but eventually switched his major to "ritualistic arts". In 2008, after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree, he pursued his music career while working full-time as a teacher, moving between Los Angeles, Oakland, Brooklyn and Atlanta, before signing a deal with recording artist Janelle Monáe's Wondaland Records.