Author: Madeline Thomas
All photos courtesy of the artist’s personal platforms
Mick Jenkins is probably a great dinner guest. None of us can hope to be so lucky as to chew and chat with the Chicago based rapper, but Seattle fans can see Jenkins perform this coming Sunday at Neumos. The Capitol Hill venue is an ideal setting for his performance; the stage isn’t too far from the audience, the space itself isn’t too big and tends to foster intimate performances because of these qualities.
Given the transparency of his music, fingers crossed, Jenkins seems likely to share his inner thoughts about the tracks and reveal where or who he drew inspiration from. Who wouldn’t want a peek inside the mind of Mick Jenkins? Tickets are available online in limited quantity; trust me when I say this is a concert worth sacrificing a meal for. Would you rather have an overpriced Cap Hill lunch, or food for thought?
The philosophy of life Jenkins offers, and touches on in his music, is essentially one of respect for the self and others. Advice given by the 27-year-old rapper is always simple, but common-sense statements sound unexplainably persuasive. Hydration is a no-brainer, right? Yet Jenkins had listeners spellbound with a reminder to drink more water; his 2014 mixtape The Waters, aptly named, is elemental – low and slow like the tide then smooth, heavy crashes and deep bass.
Jenkins’ 2016 album, The Healing Component, spoke about growth, love, and relationships with advice specifically relevant to the coming-of-age generation. He is “trying to put love” into everything he does, as per the mantra of the title track; optimism seeps from every track, yet the album ends without any sense of certainty. Is The Healing Component a blues-fusion album? Again, Jenkins’ personal experiences are on display; listening from start to finish is akin to reading a diary entry. He includes the classic angsty voicemail outro track, a Kaytranada produced bop, and, as is a trend in Jenkins’ work, features from other black artists; worth mentioning is that these features maintain the artist’s individual style, complementing rather than reflecting Jenkins’ own sound.
Personal favorites on The Healing Component are “Communicate,” produced by Kaytranada and featuring Ravyn Lenae, “Angles,” featuring Noname and Xavier Omär, and the BADBADNOTGOOD feature on “Drowning.”
Pieces of a Man, released in the early fall of 2018, is the next chapter in the auto-biography Jenkins has constructed throughout his work. His sophomore album is an exploration of the self. It’s jazzy and multi-dimensional in that the mood, or sound, of the album is not particularly pessimistic or optimistic. Pieces of a Man is not, in my humble opinion, Jenkins’ best work, but what he has delivered with this album is some of his best lyricism yet. In first listening to the album I found myself moving backwards throughout tracks.
Did he really say that? How have I never thought of that pun before? Jenkins’ word play is masterful (further evidence that he is an ideal dinner guest). If I could arrange a salon evening comprised solely of rappers, Mick Jenkins would definitely be that guy…the “hear me out,” personal anecdote, “all I’m saying is,” guy. To be fair, if rappers would partake in a salon discussion, Mick Jenkins would probably be the one who organized the event.
For those of you unfamiliar with the rapper, check out recent interviews, especially those on camera. It’s no surprise a musician whose sound is described as laid-back, or, a term ever so popular with millennials, “chill,” radiates the same energy as his art. If Mick Jenkins offered me advice, there’s no doubt I would take it. Maybe a side-hustle as a life coach is in the future for the Chicago based artist…
MADELINE THOMAS | how many times can i use the word “i?” | KXSU Music Reporter