Chicago-based MC/poet Mick Jenkins is praised for his socially conscious, intelligent lyrics and tough yet unforced delivery, as well as his blend of jazz, soul, and hip-hop influences. He first made an impact during the early 2010s with several mixtapes, then broke through with 2014′s The Water[s]. Collaborating with artists like Noname, Kaytranada, and BadBadNotGood, he explored concepts of truth and love on subsequent releases Wave[s] (2015) and The Healing Component (2016), his official debut album. He kept up his productive pace with several EPs and the full-lengths Pieces of a Man (2018) and The Elephant in the Room (2021).
Mick Jenkins (whose real first name is Jayson) was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1991 and raised on the South Side of Chicago. Affiliated with hip-hop crew Free Nation, Jenkins began releasing online mixtapes in 2012, starting with The Mickstape in January and followed by The Pursuit of HappyNess: The Story of Mickalascage in August. Trees & Truths, an ambitious 17-track mixtape filled with biblical imagery and demonstrating Jenkins’ remarkable growth as a lyricist, appeared in April of 2013 and significantly raised his profile within the Chicago rap community, and later in the year Jenkins collaborated with Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa on a single called “Cross Roads.”
Jenkins received national attention for The Water[s], his 2014 mixtape that featured guest appearances by Statik Selektah and Joey Bada$$. This led to a support slot on a fall 2014 tour with Method Man, Redman, and Cypress Hill’s B Real, followed by tours with Kirk Knight, Joey Bada$$, and STWO in 2015. Jenkins signed to Cinematic Music Group in 2015, releasing an EP titled Wave[s] in August while working on his official full-length debut, The Healing Component. That LP arrived in late 2016 and debuted at number nine on the R&B/hip-hop chart. The EP Or More; The Anxious appeared in 2017, followed by Or More; The Frustration in 2018.
Jenkins’ sophomore full-length, Pieces of a Man, arrived in 2018 and included appearances by Ghostface Killah, Corinne Bailey Rae, BadBadNotGood, and others. Jenkins guested on releases by artists such as Robert Glasper, Kaytranada, and Disclosure, and released the EP The Circus in 2020, with EarthGang guesting on the song “The Light.” The Elephant in the Room, Jenkins’ third full-length, appeared in 2021. ~ Paul Simpson