By Jesse McMann
Artist: Mick Jenkins
Album: Or More: The Anxious
Release Date: November 21, 2017
Label: 916% Entertainment
The Chicago raised artist Mick Jenkins has just released his sixth mixtape Or More: The Anxious. Jenkins first came on the scene in 2012 with The Mickstape, and has continued to grow through mixtape releases, as well as through features on songs like “Crossroads,” “Forever” and “Guilty Automatic.” While fans are anxious for the release of a second album, Or More: The Anxious is described as a “Project series… inspiring the album’s creation process” by Jenkins in a recent interview with Hot New Hip Hop.
If this mixtape is a hint of what to expect on the release of the album we should be quite excited. Jenkins has continued to write with purpose over acid jazz beats in tracks like “The Layover.” We see Jenkins’ inner persona as a poet through his cadence with the slower feel of this track and lines like “The driver hit me with an enchanté.” He also delivers some thoughtful rhetoric on the perceived value of rap music when he says, “First class got ’em lookin’ like who this ****?/ I’ll likely say drummer before rapper/ I like to say writer before both/ They won’t give me my respect/ It’s more smoke they request.” These lines show the tendency to relate rap and therefore its community to drugs and thugs, without looking at the message behind an artist like Mick Jenkins.
He then uses “Gucci Bag” as a way to counter the message in songs like “Gucci Gang” released in 2017. While songs like “Gucci Gang” promote the idea that life is enhanced through excessive drug use and pill popping, Jenkins flips the script by reminding us that we as people are already wonderfully forged. Jenkins says “Look at our skin, this s**t is golden red, black, chocolate/ Our hearts is made of diamonds and-/ And we treat ourselves like motherfu… like like we can’t see that, man.” Jenkins is urging people to see beauty in themselves and to unite in uneasy political times instead of destroying themselves.
I had heard a couple tracks prior to listening to this mixtape, but I can now solidly say I am a fan of Mick Jenkins. The acid jazz beats coupled with Jenkins’ style of poetic rap gives listeners something that breaks from the traditional mold. I encourage each reader to give this mixtape a listen to to uncover more of its meaning within layered lyrics and references to past artisans, such as Keith Harrington.