With a psychedelic, hazy beat coalescing with elite storytelling, Mick Jenkins welcomes us to 'The Circus'. Introspection is a perpetual theme for the Chicago-based rapper and, as always, provides a breath of fresh air with a motley crew of parables throughout the project.
Starting with 'Same Ol', the listener is introduced to an energetic flow with methodical yet swift changes to the beat and rhyme to start off what would become a notable project. Redolent vibes from 'Pieces Of A Man' comes 'Carefree', the leading single released a week before the seven-track EP.
Jenkins does what he does best by reflecting on personal woes from the cops to his fans. Lending a sobering view on what it feels like to want to be a carefree black man regardless of the strive black men have to endure in this day and age. Lyrics like "If you living carefree, then you probably don't look like us" and "I ain't worried 'bout dyin' for speaking my mind, they keep on callin' it tough shit," will have you in a musing gaze all while head bopping to the melody.
Cruising along comes 'The Light', featuring Dreamville's EarthGang. The playful duo fits right in chasing new highs and reminds us to be ourselves. While Mick is notoriously low-key, he has no problem acknowledging that he is well aware that his fans want to see him stunt. On 'Flaunt', he reminds us that he is just not that guy. Unlike mainstream hip-hop artists where rappers possess a veil of bravado, Mick reiterates that he doesn't have to follow trends, and there's no need when the art speaks for itself.
Never the one to shy away from pressing topics, the rapper touched on the vaping epidemic on 'The Fit' with "Dropping jewels (JUULS), n*ggas dying off the vapour..."
Tying into 'The Circus' concept, the rapper came in hot with lines like "I had to come off the carousel / n*ggas is still on their high horse, ain't got to do nothing by force." Standing as the shortest song at one minute and 33 seconds, 'I'm Convinced' is succinct and to the point. After one listen, you won't need any more convincing. Mick Jenkins deserves mainstream success comparable to the likes of J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar.
Preaching the same elements on 'Different Scales', this EP shows us what is to come on Jenkins' forthcoming album. If 'The Circus' is just a prelude, then old and new fans alike are up for a special treat.
Words: Sade Hawthorne
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