2014’s The Waters was arguably one of the greatest mixtapes of the year (heck, maybe of all time). It thrust the little known Mick Jenkins into the spotlight with infectious lyricism and highlight tracks like “Jazz” and “Martyrs.” Co-signs from fellow Chicago luminaries like Chance the Rapper only heightened the mystique surrounding the deep voiced wordsmith. His follow up, Wave[s], continued to build hype around the young artist, causing the anticipation for his debut album The Healing Component to rise. This past Friday, Jenkins finally dropped his debut studio album and he shines throughout its 15-song duration. THC is the latest example of Jenkins’ knack for being able to put together complete and thematic projects and provides another excellent example of Mick’s bonafide talent.
From the get-go, Mick makes it clear that this album is all about ‘The Healing Component’ – or to translate it into everyday vernacular – love. Throughout the course of the album, Mick is heard giving an interview on the meaning behind The Healing Component as well as other musings on relationships and feelings to an unknown woman. The skits provide insight into how Jenkins believes love heals all wounds and why its even more important than water. While these snippets do expand upon the themes of the album, they also distract from the focus of music. Jenkins just as easily could have expanded on his lyrics to convey his thoughts, a choice that would have helped the flow of the album overall. Regardless, Mick has incredible artistic vision and creativity; the man knows what he wants to do with his music, something you can’t fault him for.
Lyrically, Jenkins is as on point as ever. There’s no shortage of water references or witty wordplay as Mick effortlessly glides through the words with his distinctive baritone voice. While water still remains prevalent on THC it’s love that takes the spotlight. Jenkins sings the chorus of the title track, “The Healing Component,” which is highlighted by the backing trumpets that provide an uplifting feeling which in turn becomes associated with the message that love heals all.
THC, THC/ For your grace and mercy father, we thank thee/ For this THC, THC.”
It sets the album up well before going through its ebb and flow of lively and spirited tracks juxtaposed by darker, somber moments like “Daniels Bloom” and “Drowing.” These mood swings are engaging and keep ears on edge, brain-cogs whirring to process everything.
Production is what helps fuel many of the attention grabbing emotional queues. Familiar cohorts like THEMpeople, Cam O’bi, and Monte Booker all make appearances that also include BADBADNOTGOOD for yet another collaboration. Kaytranada makes the greatest contribution; both “Communicate” and “1000 Xans” are the beneficiaries of signature bouncy synths. That’s one thing that Mick Jenkins never fails to succeed with; his discography is littered with high-quality production that more-established names would kill for. Lyrical contributions on the album are high-quality as well, with True Too favorites Noname Gypsy and TheMIND making appearances. Surely Mick has no lack of talented friends and it will be exciting to see what other kinds of connections he makes in his budding career.
THC is exactly what a debut studio album should be, and it’s a bright start for a promising young rapper. Love emanates from this body of work, and it’s clear that a great deal of love went into its conception as well. With the current political climate surrounding racial injustice, the album is equally timely as it is important. There’s a lot of good that will come from this album, and surely Jenkins will succeed on his mission to “spread some love”.