Mick Jenkins’ follow-up to seminal mixtape ‘The Water[s]‘ has been hotly anticipated here at Province. Singles ‘Alchemy‘, ‘P’s & Q’s‘ and ‘Get Up Get Down‘ more than whet our appetite for new EP ‘Wave[s]’. In celebration we’ve called on HueyTheFreeman, top Mick Jenkins scholar on Rap Genius, to go through the project piece by piece. Stream the project below via Spotify, or click here to download via iTunes.
“They say I be talking ’bout water too much / You hear that? Ha ha / That’s how many fucks I could give.”
Chicago MC Mick Jenkins has finally dropped his hotly anticipated new EP ‘Wave[s]’. Jenkins has been taunting us with this project since the beginning of the year, dropping sporadic snippets and performing some songs live. Despite the fact that ‘Wave[s]’ is decidedly a follow up to previous mixtape ‘The Water[s]’, he’s definitely dipping his toe into a new style of artistry here.
‘Wave[s]’ is an amazing new project which essentially foreshadows the next steps of Mick’s career. If you were expecting a project like its predecessor, you aren’t going to get it. Simply put, ‘The Water[s]’ feels as if you are underwater; completely submerged in a deep blue sea of somewhat eerie production combined with Mick’s low and vibing voice. ‘Wave[s]’ however, has one feeling above water. Tides smash into the sides of rocks, and then gently settle back down. Lightning seems to strike on the production side of things, with the booming thunder and crashing instrumentation right from the off with first track ‘Alchemy’. Chicago production juggernauts THEMPeople really deliver in this regard, just take a listen to closing track Perception [produced by Mullato Beats of Hurt Everybody]. The beautiful violin plucks are only a fraction of what makes this beat amazing. The groovy and smooth ‘Your Love’ [prod. Kaytranada] is another production highlight, which requires sonically-pleasing hooks from Jenkins, which he does perfectly.
Mick’s signature smooth, steady flow is still present. Almost tidal in his delivery, things seem more emotional this time around. His recipe for tracks begins with with low voices, abruptly exploding as more and more instruments come into the fore. The result is one of pure emotion; the kind of conviction one might expect from the most passionate religious preacher. The biggest difference between ‘The Water[s]’ and ‘Wave[s]’ has to do with Jenkins’ own sonic objectives. ‘Wave[s]’ seems undoubtedly driven by the vibe created by each track, as Mick sings in typical low, gruff voice perfectly every time; complimenting the already-soulful instrumentation. He also takes a dive into the tricky subject of Love on tracks like ‘The Giver’. ‘Wave[s]’, ironically, is a lot less allegorical and, well – watery, than its predecessor. Even on when adopting a intentionally off-key, goofy style on tracks like ‘Your Love’, Jenkins is able to convey sheer emotion with the kind of accuracy to rival Kanye West’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’. The R&B influence in songs like ‘Get Up Get Down’ showcase Jenkins’ ability to make infectious and utterly catchy hooks. Although trying for a more mainstream sound, he never abandons his use of imagery with a view to a conscious message. On ‘Slumber’ [featuring fellow Chicago genius, Saba], Jenkins reminds us to “Wake Up!”, with a song referencing triumph and hope in its purest form. His extended metaphors seemingly never end, see ‘Piano’ for more on that.
Although on the surface Jenkins appears to sacrifice lyricism for melodies and vibe over content on ‘Wave[s]’; his lyrics are as sharp as ever. On ‘P’s and Q’s‘ he shows that he is still more than capable of Super Saiyan rhymes, completely spamming the alliteration of ‘P’ and ‘Q’. This demonstration of lyrical prowess serves as a reminder that hey, Jenkins can do both: “With perfect pitch I’m singing free my niggas / Polished and purposeful he’s producing pristine pictures / Pay me, gimme plenty, the trees begat keys / That’s paper, so hold the pennies / I’m pressed and like pests, I’m in every nook and cranny / Your pantry, with some patience your panties / I got patience, it’s prevalent in the previous plannings”. Mick spits with utter ferocity, effortlessly rhyming internals and multis as if second nature.
More than an EP, ‘Wave[s]’ is serves to define the rest of Jenkins’ journey in Rap. While many artists struggle to truly innovate, Mick has proved time and time again the proficiency with which he is able to traverse a wide range of genres. Mick Jenkins: risk-taker, creative genius, innovative obsessive – ‘Wave[s] demonstrates that it’s high time that his contemporaries welcome him accordingly. Jenkins is Kanye-esque in his obsession with creating a whole new sounds on each project, but given that he’d surely eschew comparison to Yeezus, I’ll settle for likening this God-level artist to the far more appropriate Poseidon. ‘Wave[s]’ has me drenched for now, but the inevitable thirst for next album ‘[T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent already tingles at the back of my throat. Thank God for the ‘Water[s]’.
Fun Fact — Mick dropped The Water[s] on a day it was supposed to rain. He also did the same with Wave[s]