Mick Jenkins is one of those artists that I wish I knew about a long time ago. With a godly mic presence paired with silky smooth flows, Mick Jenkins has proved to be a force on the underground hip-hop scene.
From the Southside of Chicago, Mick has an introspective style that blends vulnerability and cockiness with ease. Its obviously impossible to articulate the skill and musical abilities of an artist like Mick with some words on a page, but to give you an idea of what he is capable of I’m going to briefly analyze two of Mick’s tracks; “P’s & Q’s” and “Carefree”.
P’s and Q’s is a testament to Mick’s skills as a wordsmith. This is his cocky side. Taking the age-old expression of “minding your p’s and q’s” to heart, Mick’s bars are precise and quip through the whole track. Not only is he on top of his game, he also takes the saying literally by primarily using words that start with the letter “P” and “Q” throughout the whole track. During the two and a half minute song, Mick uses over 70 words that start with “P”, and over 10 that start with “Q”. Despite being limited to two letters, Mick’s extensive vocabulary shines through as he seemingly never runs out of things to say.
As for “Carefree”, Mick switches gears away from his braggadocios bars to a more storytelling orientated track, without sacrificing his technical skill. Over a chill and vibey beat, Mick paints a picture of two different encounters he’s had with police officers. Using the idea of not being able to live “carefree” in any situation because of the colour of his skin, Mick details stories where he along with his friends were wrongfully harassed by police officers. The relaxed beat paired with the subject matter creates a contrast that requires the listener to really pay attention to understand the story. At first listen it sounds like a feel-good track, but listen carefully and you’ll hear that Mick is talking about something a little more grim.
What I love about Mick is that you could listen to any of his albums over and over and catch something new every time. He’s dense and uses every single word with intent. For a quick introduction, check out his latest EP called The Circus, released earlier this year.