With the release of The Water(S) earlier this month, 6'5" Alabama-born, Chicago-raised rapper Mick Jenkins towers above most of the city's newcomers, literally and figuratively. Like collaborators Chance the Rapper, Saba, and No Name Gypsy, he's a product of Chicago's vibrant poetry scene, and a sharp disciple of a similar lyrical tradition....Read On
No offense to 2014 Grammy winner Macklemore‘s 2012 hit “Thrift Shop,” but Jenkins’ song is leaps and bounds ahead because of its authenticity. The video begins with Mick ordering Taco Bell drive-thru and cuts to him hitting up the thrift, a common weekday activity for many a high school student. You want real? Hell, the video was shot on an iPod touch. ..Read On
“Jonny Shipes is the only person that approached me offering to work for free,” he tells XXL exclusively. After growing and working together, as well as exploring other options, I’m happy to make the decision to partner with Cinematic Music Group. I’m making movies anyway.”
THE WATER[S]. AUGUST 12TH
"Oh Lord we're sinking, God knows we fall, set sail for heaven pray my soul don't get lost. Pray God accepts me, I know I'm wrong, but we've been shipwrecked, since we were born".
Unusual lyrics, for the popular hip hop world, and yet less than a month since The Waters have dropped and many have noticed a change in their diet. People are drinking more water, and they didn't even realize how much they needed it. He's found appreciation among those who've been searching for a little substance in their lives, looking for something a little more filing than just that good old THC. Mick Jenkins' sophomore album represents everything one should require from Hip Hop, its more than satisfying to the ears, it quenches the pallet that longs for something real, and intense. What more could one expect from a young Chicago man from the south side? There lies behind the delivery of each line an honesty of conviction, and a desire for storytelling that goes beyond a desire to elevate ones self, Jenkins seeks to elevate the mind.
It might take a few listens before you even begin to scratch the surface of The Waters, its more than deep, there's something profound about his work. The pronounced moral standing that Mick represents was here long before The Waters, you can find traces of his message back to his first tape Killin em Softly, and yet he's continuously perfected his delivery. Mick has been consistent in his desire to inspire us to think for ourselves, to see past the veils of pop culture, and to strive for something greater. The Pursuit of Happiness, won't be achieved by chasing fast women, and buying overpriced clothing. No amount of money you attain will get you the happiness you desire alone, there is something bigger than you, someone greater than you, and he alone can give you joy. Jesus is the water of life, the dehydration caused of being broke and lonely, has only one cure, God is the only one who can quench that thirst. Money won't buy happiness, and pleasure alone can't afford it either. Save your soul for something more valuable, drink more water.
We couldn't end without mentioning the genius of the production, once again OnGaud made magic. Tracks like Jazz, 514 and Martyrs, at times it was almost like I should've been sipping on some syrup, it just held a perfect Vibe for the album. August 12th would have been a good day to start smoking again, it definitely made me want to role a couple. So I'm sure all my 420 celebrators found this album a welcomed addition to their library.
Its safe to say this young rapper has arrived, currently on tour with Method & Redman for the Smoker's Club Tour, I wouldn't think we need much more proof than that, and yet this is certainly just the beginning, sharing water with all those in need of some real shit. I know you feel it.
Trees and Truths
Mick Jenkins compilation is easily delightful as sin. As a first time reviewer and full time critic, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Trees and Truths. Honestly, I’m not sure what I expected – I’ve only ever bore witness to a small handful of Mick’s Art & Soul performances. Surprisingly (blessedly) I found this EP in much of the same vein, giving the bare sketch his poems, his voice, his ‘swag’ provided more color and depth. Trees and Truths presents me a full portrait of an artist, mid stride, as he puts his best foot forward.
Jenkins is offering you, the audience, a taste of this forbidden fruit: a morsel of knowledge perhaps? Or a shot of something enlightening – the nature of this forbidden fruit is not exactly known, but it is tempting all the same. There’s a definite lyrical delectability here, demonstrated most by tracks like ‘Free Nation Rebel Soldier’ and ‘Lack’. That’s my opinion anyway. And that’s to say nothing of Jenkins’ delivery. Again, I am struck by the poetry evident here. Which is pretty awesome considering that poetry is almost nonexistent in most of the mainstream hip-hop you come across these days. Jenkins’ poetic presence is clear here, but there is still an evident distinction between the delivery of his stand-alone poetry and that of the rhymes in his music.
Perhaps if you’re more a production Nazi, numbers like ‘Noah and the Reign’ will tickle your fancy. There is a…comfortably dystopian overtone to the music here, reminiscent of the blues. The depth here isn’t overwhelming: it doesn’t drown the listener. On the contrary, something about the album’s tone is buoyant and intelligent. This contributes to the overall swell production value of the album, as well as its shuffle-factor. Being that Jenkins is obviously not afraid to share the good vibes with his contemporaries, the variety is another factor that makes Trees and Truths a solid, rotatable listen.
Overall, this album is a reminder of why one’s musical tastes begin making the descent into the underground: in pursuit of value, for a taste of something novel and honest. Given the apparent ease with which Jenkins’ pulls this distinction off, you’d think this nigga already arrived. I guess that’s what they call style.
Bohemian Green, A.