Mick Jenkins – “The Circus” review

This is the 4th EP from Chicago emcee Mick Jenkins. Who rose to fame in 2014 with the release of his 3rd mixtape The Water[s]. He then released his debut album The Healing Component & now just a little over a year after his sophomore album Pieces of a Man, he’s taking listeners on a trip to The Circus.

The anti-industry anthem “Same Ol’” still slaps as hard as it did when it first appeared on Mick’s 2018 EP or more…The Frustration & then the next song “Carefree” talks about enjoying life over a smooth Black Milk beat. “The Light” with EARTHGANG talks about taking time & not rushing things over a cloudy beat while the track “Flaunt” of course sees Mick flexing over a druggy beat. “The Fit” gets more insightful over an intoxicating whereas the song “I’m Convinced” talks about how “people know the feelings” over a woozy instrumental. The EP then finishes with “Different Scales”, where Mick continues to show off his smart pen game over a somber boom bap instrumental.

As much as I enjoyed Mick’s last album, this EP was just ok. The rapping is fine, but the beats are hit or miss with me personally. Whenever his next album is coming, I hope the production choices are a lot better.

Score: 3/5

Mick Jenkins – “Pieces of a Man”

Mick Jenkins is a 27 year old rapper from Chicago, Illinois who blew up in 2014 with the release of his 3rd mixtape The Waters. He then released his debut album The Healing Component & after the release of a couple EPs since then, he’s ready to deliver his long-awaited sophomore album.

The intro “Heron Flow” starts off as a spoken word piece, but then a funky ass instrumental kicks in halfway through. The first actual song “Stress Fracture” tackles his inner demons over a mellow Black Milk instrumental while the track “Gwendolynn’s Apprehension” is about this person who isn’t on the same page as Mick another Black Milk instrumental albeit with a heavy J Dilla influence to it. The song “Soft Porn” is a decently slow sex jam while the track “Grace & Mary” is about how he wakes up praising the higher power over a bass-heavy beat with some keyboards & synths. However, it’s way too short.

The song “Barcelona” is a shot at lyrical cliches over a gritty beat & after the Percy interlude, the next song “Reginald” is essentially about not letting your partner count up your drug money over a relaxing instrumental. The track “Padded Locks” with Ghostface Killah sees the 2 wildin’ out over a KAYTRANADA instrumental with a prominent BADBADNOTGOOD sample while the song “Ghost” talks about his rise to success is over an instrumental with some jazzy keyboards.

The track “Heron Flow 2” is pretty much a reprise of the opener & the song “Plain Clothes” is an awkward attempt at going materialistic over a blissful trap beat. The track “Pull Up” vividly talks about a friend of his over gloomy boom bap beat while the song “Consensual Seduction” is another romantic slow jam. The track “U Turn” is about wanting to smack people who think they know him over another slow instrumental albeit with a prominent organ while the funkily KAYTRANADA produced “Understood” follows it up perfectly. The “Smoking Song” that finishes the album of course is about marijuana over some live bass playing.

For all the hype, this was totally worth it. I’d shave off a couple tracks, but it’s a lot more focused & the concept is more consistent than that of The Healing Component as is the jazz-influenced production that one can catch on Mick’s work in the past.

Score: 4/5