Jayson Mick Jenkins, better known by his stage name, Mick Jenkins, is an emerging hip-hop artist. He was born in Huntsville, Ala., but grew up and spent most of his young adulthood in Chicago, Ill.
At 25 years old, Jenkins released his debut album, “The Healing Component,” in September of last year. Jenkins’ first single off the album was a song titled “Spread Love,” and the second single was in collaboration with the Canadian music group BadBadNotGood.
Jenkins’ style of rap has been said to come out of Chicago’s recent “creative renaissance.” The lyrical structure of his songs is comparable to poetry and alludes to his involvement in Chicago’s poetry scene. Jenkins stands out from the numerous other rappers waiting for a chance to break through because of his meaningful lyrics that challenge social injustice.
According to Jenkins, “The Healing Component” is a way for him to motivate his listeners to speak about love. He believes that love, in its many forms and within its many interpretations, is an all-encompassing force that has the ability to resolve most of the problems that result from systemic oppression.
After receiving mostly positive reviews from critics and being ranked at 79 on Metacritic, Jenkins’ debut album featured a number of artists including, theMind and Noname. “The Healing Component” was also number nine on the Billboard charts for Top R&B/Hip-hop Albums.
However, even though “The Healing Component” is Jenkins’ first studio album, he has had a number of successful projects since 2012, including a collaboration with fellow Chicago native, Chance The Rapper.
Jenkins’ song “Martyrs” is what first gained him mainstream media attention from both artists and fans. This song would go on to become characteristic of his unique style of music, including elaborate lyricism accompanied by powerful, sonorous vocals.
Mick Jenkins visited Clark University’s campus to promote “The Healing Component” on Friday, Oct. 20. The concert was open to all students and took place in the main theatre in Atwood Hall. Excited students lined up with their tickets as early as thirty minutes before the show to get seats that would allow a good view of the performer.
The show began with an opening act, Jenkins’ long time collaborator, theMind, who performed a number of his own songs, including one that was based off of his own interpretation and experience of love. This, of course, ran in parallel with Jenkins’ music and the inspiration it draws from love.
Mick Jenkins finally came on stage nearly an hour into the show, sporting a plain white t-shirt, and greeted the eager crowd with a calm energy and a rare smile, which doesn’t appear often on his social media. The theatre had almost filled up by that time, with people continuing to file in. There was a palpable excitement in the room, once again showing how the reach of his music has grown exponentially since 2016.
Jenkins began the set with what is one of his (if not his most) popular songs, “Jazz.” Many audience members seemed to know the lyrics and sang along.
As the performance progressed, Jenkins continued to reinstate the intro to “Jazz,” eventually making the audience repeat after him: “Drink more water!” building off of the energy of audience members.
However, this idea of water is something that is prevalent in most of Jenkins’ music and acts as one of the creative fundamentals of his style of rap. Two of his mix-tapes, released earlier on in his career, “The Water(s)” and “The Wave(s)” revolved around the theme of water as well. Jenkins claims that he equates water with the essential truths of life.
To Jenkins, the element of water represents the qualities of life that are essential but overlooked and forgotten by most people in search for material goods. He sees water as clarity and purpose. This sense of clarity is what Jenkins claims is essential in solving the majority of social problems, including violence, in the United States.
In the second single on the album, “Drown,” he alludes to the death of Eric Garner, who was an African-American man killed by the police. The piece incorporates Garner’s last words, “I can’t breathe.”. In the music video, Jenkins used the image of a white man and a black man drowning in a river to represent what he believes is the washing away of all traces of previous conflict and detrimental preconceptions, indicating the beginning of a new understanding between both individuals.