It’s 11:30am and the first set of the day at 2015’s Lollapalooza Music and Arts Festival. An 18-year-old Vince sporting an NBA jersey and bandana, equipped with water bottle containing anything but water waits in the small-ish crowd waiting to see some no-namer kick off the festival. That no-namer was Mick Jenkins.
Ever since that day and throughout the years I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his music career progress. What I love most about Mick is how he structures his EPs and albums to mirror his own life progression. In a 2018 Open Space interview with Mass Appeal he touches on a few experiences that influenced his first 2 EPs, Water(s) and Wave(s). In the interview he claims that he “[wasn’t] very intelligent” when he was writing them, but The Healing Component and Pieces of a Man are a different story. As he’s matured, so has his music.
Having grown up on the Southside of Chicago, Jenkins has always looked up to artists such as Lupe Fiasco, ProbCause, Chance the Rapper, and Kanye, but claims he’s never tried to mirror their sound. Instead, he wants to make his own stamp on the Chicago scene. I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job.
“You can’t count on music changing things. People have to change their own lives. The act of writing, performing … actions have to follow. Music is just a soundtrack to what happens in your life. It’s up to each person to determine what happens next.”Mick Jenkins, Chicago Tribune
“Communicate” comes off Jenkins’ debut studio album, The Healing Component, which found itself at #9 on the Billboard Rap/Hip-Hop charts. I high recommend taking a spin through the entire album, but this track in particular really does have it all: a Kaytranada-produced beat, Ravyn Lanae supplementing vocals, and a good message.