He has been called the Chicago Shaman, the Free Nation Rebel Solider, and The Truth Giver. This could be legend is Mick Jenkins, a 24 year old artist who is leading the new age Chicago music movement. Officially named Jayson Jenkins, Mick is a part of hip hop collective Free Nation. He reps the south side of Chicago but is not a part of the Drill scene there. He is officially signed with Cinematic Music Group, an independent music label who has other artists like Big K.R.I.T, Joey Bada$$ and Smoke DZA. Even though he has only come into his fame in the past few years with a few projects he is makes big waves in the hip hop scene.
Back in 2013 the name Mick Jenkins started getting thrown around on all kinds of music forum after the release of his mixtape Trees and Truths. While this isn’t his first official project it has a handful of really quality track that brought the young MC into the spotlight. Mick stated that this is his most lyrical body of work. The whole tape has a biblical theme mostly about Adam and Eve and the Tree of Life. The tape has production by Ongaud, Saba and Such and Such as well as a few more. If you haven’t heard these names don’t worry they are Chicago based producers. The tape opens with a skit between Eve and the evil snake in the Garden of Eden. Mick then follows this with the opening track titled “The Trees” produced by Ongaud.
Appropriately titled it makes references to weed, Chicago and his fellow Free Nation members. Working off a smooth Erik Satie piano sample this track is perfect to enjoy some “trees” to. The piano sample, a soft saxophone melody and simple drums are all softly played as Mick drives his metaphors perfectly on top of the beat. Following the hype from the mixtape Mick teamed up with fellow Chicago rappers Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa to deliver a track entitled “Crossroads”. Also produced by Ongaud, the track now has over a million plays on Micks SoundCloud page. With no chorus and a melancholy beat the trio speak on their experiences in Chiraq. This track just seems like three friends having fun rapping.
Following the success of Trees and Truths Mick Jenkins released “Martyrs” a single for his upcoming mixtape. The track samples Carmen McRae’s version of “Strange Fruit” which is also sampled on Kanyes’ “Blood on the Leaves”. While Micks version doesn’t have auto tune, blaring horns and a beat drop that could start a riot it does have plenty of food for thought. He speaks about racism and blacks in Chicago. This is a track about revealing the truth a common theme with Mick. My favorite line has to be “All these little girls give it up now, shame I can see the cherry stems in the fucking street.” The video for this track shows Mick in a house with a noose around his neck which is a reference to fellow Chicago artist Chief Keef who got famous from shooting music videos in his house while on house arrest. Now with many people following the up and coming artist Mick Jenkins released his mixtape The Water[s] in August of 2014. This tape blew up and is loved as his best work. It was also my favorite project of 2014. Yes I listened to RTJ2, Piñata, 2014 Forrest Hill Drive, Cilvia Demo and a lot more major projects but Micks lyrical ability, the production and the themes of this tape are incredible. Even though he does talk about water for 15 songs he is talking about more than just the liquid drink. He refers to water as life’s truths. He also praises ginger ale. With many jazzy beats this tape flows perfectly. With only a few features Mick is able to guide the listener through the whole project with ease. Tracks like Jerome, Who Else, Vibe and 514 really show off his skills with a mic. My favorite track on this tape has to be “Healer” with smooth production by Ongaud and Dream Kola. With a refreshing hook and closing verse sung by Jean Deaux, this track will make you feel like you are on the beach at an exotic island with a cool glass of water in your hand. However this beat is contrasted by Micks’ deep tough voice. I never thought I would enjoy a 6’4 rapper talk about “Starbucks apple spices” so much. This track really brings you into Mick Jenkins life, while he is not very famous yet still being hungry and not having much money many people do know his name and are aware of his skills.
Later in 2014 Mick then went on to tour along with Redman and Method man of the Wu Tang Clan on the 2014 Smoker’s Club World Wide Roller’s Tour. In February of this year he teamed up with Pro era member Kirk Knight to have his first official US tour. We are now anticipating his upcoming unofficially titled EP Wave[s]. He has shared a part of the tracklist, has played snippets on his snapchat (mick.jenkins) and released the title track Alchemy on his soundcloud. He has said this EP will hopefully be coming in the next month or two if Mick doesn’t keep us waiting. Mick has also said his first official Album will be released at the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016. This means we are in for floods of FRESH Mick Jenkins tracks soon. He has said that the water theme will not continue in all of his future projects though.
In the next few months Mick Jenkins will be a much more popular name. He is now preparing to tour the world on Joey Bada$$s’ World Domination tour. Luckily San Diego is a stop on the tour so I’ll be able to experience The Water[s] in person! Mick still has a lot to prove in the rap game but he is looking very promising. With his clever use of language techniques and his ability to fit perfectly into many different type of beats proves this promise. If he keeps putting out quality music like The Water[s] his constant showers of praise will not be stopping soon.
Drink more water.
Trees and truth mixtape