The man of The Water[s] and Wave[s], Mick Jenkins is known for his ability to flow eloquently over production while hitting you with metaphors that’ll make you think. The Free Nation rapper dropped his last project, Wave[s], in August of 2015 . As we await on his highly anticipated debut album, [T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent, take a listen to his lyrical growth with these six essential Mick Jenkins songs you need to know:
To the Melody: As a poet, wordplay comes naturally to Mick. On his debut project, The Mickstape, one of the songs that Mick’s highlighted this was “To the Melody.” On the track, a cocky yet mellow Mick flows over a classic sample from Freda Payne’s “A Song For You.” “I could have the white moving quicker than an avalanche/But I’ve never seen the purpose in moving a pound/When I can get the same paper from moving a noun.”
The Roots: One of the standouts from his Trees & Truths mixtape was “The Roots.” On the track, its clear that the self destruction of the people in his community and harsh reality influenced his bars. “Doctor said his teeth were looking off white/He told him slow down on the cigs/ Didn’t know that he was off pipe/Shit was getting hazy.”
Chicago: By spitting about his life coming up in a mostly white class and drug dealers on “Chicago”, Mick Jenkins gives his audience an audio visual into his life. “A blemish in they world, yea, I was just a black head /Proactive, they put me with them smarter kids, I didn’t care/I was just mad that I was the darkest kid with thick hair/And they stared, like I was not suppose to be in there”
Martyrs: As the first single to drop from The Water[s], “Martyrs” was the track that made people stop sleeping on the MC. The visuals coincide perfectly with the lyrics as Mick touches on the realization of how the mainstream media tends to portray the people of his hometown.
Jazz: With references to Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken”, section 8, and complete honesty in his lyrics, “Jazz” was another standout track on The Water[s]. The visuals depict the urgency of water— which Mick uses as a metaphor for the truth.
P’s & Q’s: Easily one of Mick’s most lyrical songs, “P’s & Q’s” was the second single off of Wave[s]. Produced by Kaytranada, Mick took to Twitter to explain the concept behind the song. “Quality is what we seek, I’m not playing ’til we peak/Quintessential to survival is the cunning’ to compete/You picked defeat, if your efforts will only ever be passive aggressive.”
Your Love: With funky production by Kaytranada, Mick stepped outside of his comfort zone and even hit us with a little melody on “Your Love”. On the fun track, the 24 year old describes his perfect girl and expresses his desire to do whatever needs be to get her.