Album Review: Mick Jenkins – Wave(s)

One of Chicago-based-rapper Mick Jenkins’ greatest gifts as an MC is his incredible knack for coming up with brilliantly complex themes that instantly grabs your attention. Jenkins takes abstract theories and relates them to some of life’s most important questions. On his 2013 mixtape, Trees & Truths, Jenkins explores topics on what he views as truths and how they are affected by ‘The trees’. The tree of knowledge, representing people affected by good vs. evil and personal truths. It was his most complex and lyrical body of work until he dropped his breakout tape, The Water[s], last year in which Jenkins took on Earth’s most important and depleting commodity, water, and created a masterpiece.

On August 21, Mick Jenkins dropped his long-awaited follow-up project, The Wave[s]. In an interview, Jenkins revealed he wanted to take a bit of a step back from super introspective music and just make something for people to vibe to. Without completely abandoning complex themes altogether, Jenkins accomplishes his goal by making well thought ideas traverse over a more upbeat production – making his music more accessible and danceable. This is especially evident on the EP’s third single “Get Up Get Down,” where he encourages listeners to get up and actually do something with themselves. This theme of “getting up” is consistent throughout Wave[s], Jenkins continues to insist that his listeners “wake up” in order to grow. To me, The Water[s], was the warning that we should all drink more water. As the water flushes our systems and we become fully hydrated, all things clear up and we should start to see the truth. Wave[s] is the battle cry where he asks whether or not we are awake yet and have  we started to see the truths and how it can transform our lives.

Mick Jenkins is not just a rapper that has something to say – he’s an MC with one distinct voice that instantly captivates you. If you look at all great rappers whose music stands the test of time, they all have a key ingredient besides lyricism. This key ingredient is having a unique voice: The Notorious B.I.G (distinct voice), 2pac (distinct voice), Jay Z (distinct voice), Nas (distinct voice). Now if you think of other rappers in “the new school” currently dominating: Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, and Drake all have distinct voices to go alongside the things they have to say. Now we have Mick Jenkins joining these ranks and boy does he have a lot to say. If you’re a fan of  meaningful music ripe with relatable personal truths then this is an album for you. Not only does Wave[s] show incredible growth, Jenkins creates sonically, a more upbeat universe that should solidify him among the ranks as one of hip-hops most important new rappers.

There are still some people out there who don’t know about Mick Jenkins and his music… They’re dehydrated, and badly in need of some water…wake them up…