Chicago’s son Mick Jenkins regularly delivers us from a wave of mediocrity with releases that distance him from about 98% of music makers today. He seems to be so profoundly in tune with the blend of his voice, message, and production that you could put all of his tracks into a novel and it would read as an unwavering anthem for the betterment of your mind, spirit, and health. With the help of Montreal’s Kaytranada and Chicago’s THEMpeople, whom Mick Jenkins regularly collaborates with, we are lead through a masterful presentation of sound and rhythm that is full of life. Jenkins also nods at Kanye West with lines like “Mercy, Mercy me that Murcielago” and “I’m really just a southside nigga with a Nas flow” paying tribute to one of the greatest to come from this city. Mick Jenkins rarely upsets and with the help of Kaytranada and THEMpeople, he shows us once more why Chicago’s rap scene is nothing to take lightly.
Mick Jenkins – The Artful Dodger
Buy now from iTunes.
The EP starts off ominously , what only feels like voices talking in my head about thirst and hunger and society, leads to one of Mick Jenkins’ (can I just call him MJ?!) most potent, energetic, and visceral tracks to date; “Alchemy”. Picking up right where he left off on “The Water(s)”, with thought provoking similes and the delivery of a pastor preaching a fiery sermon.
“Don’t greet me as God, my nigga I ain’t no deity”
The album really starts to seperate itself from his prior work by the 3rd track with Mick trying new flows and more en vogue production styles than the more old schoolish underground sound fans are familiar hearing him over. Kaytranada does such a great job of taking rappers out of their comfort zones while still keeping the music quality; such is the case on “P’s & Q’s” & “Your Love”. The latter of which is a club influenced joint that seems somewhat satirical.
I swear he’s pronouncing Chicago like “She-cago” because of how well it suits the atmosphere. Subtleties like this have always been what made him so special, the little things in the end usual amount to the difference between the greats and the “good enough”‘s.
“As long as you feeling’ the vibes Imma keep dealin’ the vibes”
Thempeople handle most of the production otherwise with an assortment of mid to upper mid tempo beats that really stretch the limits of the Mick Jenkins we’ve gotten used to from the last few drops. “Quantum leaps ahead of my peers”, the emcee is clearly quite conscious of his existence in an already quite crowded rap scene but he also sees that he does what others don’t, he is self aware, thoughtful; his punch lines often come in the form of extended metaphors because there is so much depth to even the most seemingly simple things in life.
“Saw the world In different colors”
Mick has a little crossover appeal on this tape! With some singing and infectious bridges, he has really taken his songwriting ability to the next level, he’s not just a rapper, he’s not just a poet, he has reached the status of full fledged “artist” who’s music should be interpreted on varying levels. He is growing exponentially as a musician and as a conscious human as well. The tide is turning in this rap game and the “Wave(s)” will help bring you ashore.
“40 Below”, “Alchemy”, “Slumber”, & “Perception” are personal favorites.
Hurt Everybody take over the 4th of July for the second year in a row, today they dropped their debut mixtape 2K47 and the excellent project has been well received. It is 14 songs in length and goes by almost too quickly! 2K47 showcases each multidimensional artist from several different angles, Supa Bwe and Carl each deliver both aggressive and warm lyrical performances. They kept the features in the family including Khori⁴, Mick Jenkins, Alex Wiley, Saba, Abel Gray, Rio and Logan with the addition of Twista joining in “Stay Awake” one of the stand out tracks of the mixtape.
Production is of course by Mulatto Beats who continues to achieve new levels, as well as beats from Supa, Carl and ZenZan Beats who has collaborated with Hurt Everybody since day one. In addition are Twin Peaks on the previously released single “Before The War” and Flight on “YUNO.” On second listen one of my fav tracks is “Summer Kings” which features Abel Gray and has Carl singing “When beauty strikes the eye, what is the heart to do? The summer sky is right then Imma lie with you.”
In true Hurt Everybody style they released 2K47 on their own without an outside premiere and earlier than the scheduled 2:47 PM due to fan demand. It’s a complete package with exceptional artwork created by Abel Gray and all the lyrics can be found at Genius.com. The group overcame several obstacles along the way including a crashed hard drive which resulted in countless tracks being lost and some friction within the group, but they rose and created a great body of work. And the gifts keep coming – go to HurtEverybody.com for a free download of the mixtape as well as over 100 songs from their catalog and new merch is available as well. Happy 2K47!
Gang Gang Gang Gang Gang Gang Gang Gang Gang Gang
“It’s really a song about being with all of my friends
Smoking a lot of the dope
Spending up all of my ends”
Hurt Everybody’s 2K47 drops in 3 days on July 4, and just in case you weren’t excited already, they drop “Social Network” featuring Mick Jenkins to drive us crazy with anticipation. Mulatto Beats’ ominous sounding production sets the stage and they all go in. Qari promises “Thunder God, I’m going captain” and he does. Supa is, as always, a musical magician and Mick Jenkins brings his art to this. Hurt Everybody stays making bigger and bigger moves, their NYC debut at S.O.B.’s is later this month on July 23 with Saba and XVRHLDY. “Social Network” is true to the spirit of this group, their circle is tight and strong. I recently had them come over for lunch and we viedotaped it, check out In the Kitchen with Mama Sims while waiting for 2K47 and after listening to “Social Network” several times.
“I ain’t preaching and I’m never that pretentious
Not pretending, Quasimoto how my back is
I’ve been bending, I’ve been lifting all the pounds
Break it down, pass it ’round
Politicking with my peoples, then my partner, then my realm
Quality is what we seek, I’m not playing till we peak
Quintessential to survival is the cunning to compete, you picked defeat”
Mick Jenkins released his first video from The Wave[s], “P’s & Q’s” a track produced by Kaytranada with an expressive guitar loop throughout. See Mick’s description below, he explains that he was thinking about literary devices and chose alliteration, so in “P’s & Q’s,” you’ll hear lots of those. Mick makes it sound easy as he still paints a cohesive picture while employing the constrained writing technique.
Nathan R. Smith directed the video and I read about the process via NPR.
“For the “P’s & Q’s” video, we wanted to shoot something with a constant flow of motion to complement Mick’s unending verse. I created the idea of Mick walking through a scene of complete chaos, yet being unaffected by everything. To create that effect, I had Mick walk backwards from left to right through the entire scene as people pelted him with various items. That way, once we reversed the footage, Mick would look like the only person moving forward and everything would lift off of his body, leaving the chaos behind. Everything in the shot — the fire, water, even the train — was in-camera.”
The “P’s & Q’s” artwork was created by @YesimanArtist. I’ve been listening to Jenkins’ soundcloud a lot today, there’s not a superfluous release on it, all tracks are substantial and artistic. He’s laid a solid foundation and I can’t wait to hear The Wave[s].
I know too many talented minds
To not prevail
Southside just a plot detail
Two of Chicago’s most exciting talents, Mick Jenkins and The O’My’s, united for “Peace Of Mind” which premiered on The Fader. The loose single was produced by The O’My’s and Carter Lang and features Jayin. You can always count on soul and truth from rising stars The O’My’s and Mick Jenkins, listen and find some “Peace Of Mind.”
For the past few months, I have added, or tried to add, at least one single that has released each day to a playlist for the whole month. The result of this experiment, adding one track from each day to a playlist, has been interesting to say the least. Each month I have turned out an extremely random, yet surprisingly satisfying playlist. The playlists have been so satisfying in fact, I have decided to share them with our readers. For the month of April, I have accrued 31 tracks ranging from artists like RJD2 to Your Old Droog. Outside of a few electronic songs, this month’s playlist is pretty strictly hip hop. There is not much of a theme to any of these, save for the fact that each of these songs, to my knowledge, released in the same month. So without further adieu, I bring you this month’s playlist below…
This joint so hot, it’d probably evaporate Mick’s bottle of water. Seriously. I’ve always been a Mick Jenkins supporter, but this is definitely the best I’ve heard him. Lee Bannon, whom I just saw on the Ratking x Trash Talk tour, absolutely kills the production with the help of ThemPeople. As someone who’s always found Mick slightly preachy, this track definitely suites my styles.
Wave[s] coming soon. I’m officially excited.
Joywave from Rochester, NY premiered “Bad Dreams,” a single from their next album How Do You Feel Now? via The Fader. Mick Jenkins and London’s Little Simz featured and both killed it. Joywave will be performing in Chicago on April 1 at the Riviera. Look for How Do You Feel Now? on April 21.
“Judas (outro)” is the last track on Supa Bwe’s Mausoleum EP. I wrote about the EP when it came out on Valentine’s Day, but this song requires extra attention. It’s a bare and direct expression of the pain resulting from the dissolution of a partnership. The title “Judas” states betrayal and we all know that a break up of any magnitude is a difficult loss which is why the song resonates. Supa expresses “This is supposed to be our time, we worked we all shined. We supposed to grind when it’s hard times, look at you now cutting all ties…I know loss, I know losing. I know, I know truth…” (The whole song is quotable, read the lyrics here.) Supa’s verse is brave in it’s candid admission of losing something he wanted to keep. When Mick Jenkins says “I been down and up and down again, couple scratches on my crown again. I get lost but then I found my friends, one’s that hold me down, you supposed to drown when that shit real right? This shit just don’t feel right. Down.” He distills the emotions purely. I’m a Mick Jenkins fan and always enjoy his music, but this is an especially intimate and warm sounding vocal performance. The refined and sparse music by Mulatto Beats and Samii Beatz is just right in it’s precision and matches the emotional lyrics perfectly.
I’m not tripping
Just getting better
Here’s a valentine from Supa Bwe, the Mausoleum EP. You can count on Supa to always bring it, he is a passionate and firey artist. Mausoleum was recorded at Hurt Everybody Studios and this EP took me on an emotional journey. Mausoleum touches on themes of lost relationships, aloneness and betrayal with lines like: “Every time I make friends, they become my old ones” and “Hurt Everybody, MFers can’t break us. Everybody worried about the break up, wake up.” I really like all seven tracks, there are features by Jaymz V, Blakkass Westley, Cadillac Duke and Mick Jenkins. Supa handles much of the production but brings in Mulatto Beats, Caleb Stone and Samii Beatz for the rest. I find myself singing “Dead Americana” often, the track was produced by Mulatto and includes a Cadillac Duke feature. “Dead Lift” is energizing. “Judas (outro)” featuring Mick Jenkins is really something, a classic sounding and moving song with great warmth and hurt. Spend some time in Supa’s Mausoleum.
Excerpts from “Judas”
“I can see you and the Romans approaching
to throw shade on our lives
This is supposed to be our time
We worked, we all shined
We supposed to grind
When it’s hard times
Look at you now cutting all ties
I know loss, I know losing
I know, I know truth
I know the cross, I know Judas
I know, I know you” – Supa Bwe
“I’ve been down and up and down again
Couple scratches on my crown again
I get lost and then I found my friends
The ones that hold me down
You supposed to drown
That shit real right
This shit just don’t feel right
Down” – Mick Jenkins
“They know that I do this for free
And they say time is money”
Mick Jenkins consistently makes music of substance, and here is another one, “Time” released via Noisey. OnGaud’s production is excellent and sets a contemplative vibe. “Time” will be on a rap compilation called Chicago Sights ‘N Sounds being curated by The FDC and 119 Productions.
Mick is on tour now with Kirk Knight, Saba and Noname Gypsy. Last night they sold out SOBs in NYC and the Pro Era team came through. XXL was enthused on twitter and said “Wow wow wow @joeyBADASS and @mickjenkins just performed “Jerome.” Be sure to catch their show if at all possible.