As summer break winds down, Chicago-based rapper Mick Jenkins drops his mixtape “The Water[s]” following his latest move to sign with Cinematic Music Group. Don’t be fooled by the mixtape’s title. Jenkins’ creative wordplay captures water as an essential ingredient to the daily grind, discreetly taking shots at whoever may not be having enough in their life. After listening to it the first time, you’ll want to play it all over again.
For rappers hailing from Chicago, hip-hop is something that has always been there. With recent buzz from the likes of the city’s finest such as Vic Mensa, Chance the Rapper and drill-enthusiast Chief Keef; Chicago hip-hop artists are seeing hard work pays off. Jenkins’ lyrical tenacity and poetic background sets him apart from his predecessors, even taking away the spotlight from them for the moment.
On this 15-track mixtape, Jenkins takes us on a journey, swimming through the crevices of sharp and savvy rhymes and jazzy wave like instrumentals. Flowing freely about topics such as racial discrimination, his observations of growing up in a gang environment, ginger ale and echoes the importance of hydration. Each song acts as a ripple and a wave for Jenkins’ ongoing message throughout the mixtape to “drink more water.”
A surprise comes in the song “Healer,” which samples Dream Koala’s infamous past summer anthem, “We Can’t Be Friends.” Jenkins shows he has a softer side by featuring female singer and rapper Jean Deaux, intertwining in this smooth and tantalizing soulful love exchange.
The mixtape has a few features, but one to look out for is the last track, “Jerome,” featuring New York emcee Joey Bada$$. Just as you thought the ocean current would calm down Jenkins and Joey take storm. Instead of flowing within rippling beats, they become the beat that carries the song freestyling with heavy lyrical grit.
Earning close to a half a million views on YouTube for the video “Martyrs,” the first single off “The Water[s],” Jenkins reached for the sky when he released the following music video, “Jazz.” In the video, Jenkins’ vision was to represent the struggles living in the streets of Chicago and focuses on how people have to be creative in making money. As Chicago can be a place of mystery, every story told differently, Jenkins keys in his accuracy in “Jazz.” In the chorus Jenkins vibrates, “talking all that jazz,” separating himself as far away from the phrase as possible.
A time of drought can inspire musicians to enhance their talents, creating in time of need, to refresh ears with a new sound. Mick Jenkins promises waters are deep enough to dive in.
“The Water[s]” and Jenkins’ previous release “Trees and Truths” are available for download, for free, at hotnewhiphop.com.