Jayson Mick Jenkins is a Chicago product, although he was born in Huntsville, Alabama and now calls Los Angeles home. The inventive hip-hop artist has only expanded his sonic palette since his debut, but one consistent through-line is his addictive, swaggering, head-bobbing rhythm and flow. Regular readers will note that Newcity has been championing Mick Jenkins’ talent since 2015, previewing his role as the only local hip-hop act at that year’s Lollapalooza and covering that set, covering the listening party and art opening for that year’s “Wave[s],” previewing his October show at Metro, and including his release as a Top Five Hip-Hop Record for that year. His set at Lollapalooza in 2021 was recommended, as was his appearance at the July 2023 Silver Room Sound System Block Party and he has been profiled in our Music 45 issues that feature performers in the even years, in 2016 (rated 36), 2018 (rated 22) and 2020 (rated 3).
On his fourth full-length, 2023’s “The Patience,” released via independent RBC via behemoth distributor BMG (after three LPs put out by Cinematic), Mick Jenkins is at the height of his rapping powers. More than ever, his lyrical content could trigger Moms for Liberty to ban hip-hop records from libraries, given that there are even more expletives and n-words than in his past work, but if you’re liberal enough to get past that, his highly intelligent lyrics, overflowing with internal rhymes, consonance and assonance, arrest a listener’s attention. Throw that lyricism in with his authoritative delivery (at times almost Chuck D-like), the nodding sway of his rhythms and masterful mix, and Jenkins justifies the hype. The guests featured on “The Patience” fit in perfectly with his vibe—they never overwhelm or dominate their featured tracks. Gary, Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs puts in a rapid-fire appearance on “Show & Tell,” the highlight “Sitting Ducks” features Benny The Butcher, Spillage Village’s JID files an appearance on “Smoke Break-Dance” and fellow cannabis enthusiast and a native Chicagoan, Vic Mensa, guests on “Farm To Table.” Mick Jenkins is not only a masterful rapper, but he’s also a budding entrepreneur in the legal dope industry, telling High Times last fall that, although his first time at imbibing weed at seventeen was not a success, he has become a true fan, proponent, and often waxes lyrically about marijuana, most obviously indicated by some of his titular selections, such as on his debut project, “Trees and Truth,” 2016’s “[T]he [H]ealing [C]omponent” (THC being the chief psychoactive component of cannabis) and the track “Smoke Break-Dance.” In fact, “The Healing Component” and “Trees & Truth” are the names of his two cannabis products, emanating from Seattle, Washington but available around the state, and he’s trying to penetrate markets like Los Angeles and his adopted home state, Illinois. As he says in the spoken-word conclusion to the bookend of “The Patience,” the single “Mop,” which seems to have inspired the title of the record, “I feel like I’m just now stepping into / What I feel like is a full agency over my creativity.” In terms of his creativity, on his latest, Mick Jenkins is large and in charge, and he launches his ironically entitled “Thank You For Waiting Tour,” to promote “The Patience” (which was released last August).
Mick Jenkins will perform at House Of Blues, 329 North Dearborn, on Friday, January 19; doors, 7 pm; show, 8pm. TOBi opens. 17+ concert. Tickets $25 here.
Craig Bechtel is a freelance writer and has also been a Senior Staff Writer for Pop’stache. He is also a DJ, volunteer and Assistant Music Director for CHIRP Radio, 107.1 FM, and contributes occasionally to the CHIRP blog. As DJ Craig Reptile, you can hear him play music on the FM dial or at www.chirpradio.org most Sunday nights from 6pm to 9pm. He previously worked in radio at KVOE AM and Fox 105 in Emporia, Kansas, and served as a DJ, music director and general manager for WVKC at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he also won the Davenport Prize for Poetry and earned a B.A. in English writing. Craig has been working in various capacities within the hotel and meetings industry for over twenty years, and presently works at a company that uses proprietary systems to develop proven data strategies that increase revenue, room nights and meeting attendance. In his spare time, he also fancies himself an armchair herpetologist, and thus in addition to a wife, son and cat, he has a day gecko and a veiled chameleon in his collection.