“Drink more water… Or you might die.”
It’s only been two years since Chicago-based rapper Mick Jenkins dropped his aquatic-themed mixtape, aptly titled The Water[s], but a lot has changed in hip-hop. Rappers like Lil Yachty have taken the country by storm, Kendrick Lamar dropped TWO new albums, and Gucci Mane is out of jail. Wowza. But by the tone of his new album, I sense that Mick Jenkins doesn’t care about any of that. Perhaps, though, I would contend that Mick Jenkins never really cared about any of those things. It would be hypercritical to say there was something wrong with such a philosophy, but the rhymes in Jenkins’ new album make him seem more aloof and self-serving than anything else.
Love as the healer of all is the simple thesis present in The Healing Component (THC ;-p), and with such a message comes heavy implications. While Jenkins says in the title track that he “wants to start a conversation,” I couldn’t help but think he was telling the listener what to think. Spread water to the thirsty is what he says, but ‘thirsty’ is just a euphemism for ignorant. In Jenkins’ mind people are ignorant to a very narrow lifestyle or mindset that he wants them to see; it’s a very ego-centric way of seeing things.
Accessibility didn’t just disintegrate in terms of what Jenkins wants the listener to understand. It also disintegrated in terms of what he actually showed the listener. In the song “Daniel’s Bloom,” he starts off by spitting about his old neighborhood, but his rhymes feel tedious and overwrought until he ends up transitioning into more message-spewing. Such a pattern repeats throughout the whole album with the exception of a few songs, the most notable being “Drowning.”
If I’m going to take anything from this album, it would have to be the mixing and production. The album transitions smoothly from one song to the next, filled with short conversations that thematically encapsulate the previous or upcoming songs. And while I may be turned off by the details presented in the words said, I respect the artistry displayed in the album’s construction. The sounds are slick and booming all at once, and I’m excited to hear more of what Jenkins’ albums will have to offer production-wise in the future.
Mick Jenkins once said, “You were never ready for the flow,” and in this case, I can easily say that I was not.