With a new wave of self-reflection, Chicago poet and rapper Mick Jenkins brought his “Pieces of A Man” Tour to Harlow’s Nightclub in Sacramento on Wednesday January 9. Accompanied by the gracious presence of Kari Faux, Stock Marley, and theMIND, the evening would become a collection of positive thinking.
Since his debut in 2012, Mick Jenkins has used his voice to grow as an artist and individual. With an uplifting narrative always at the forefront of his music, his verses tread with integrity as they go from blunt confessions to do better to references of the human experience as an African American male. His most popular song to date, “Jazz,” starts off with a friendly reminder to “drink more water,” a reference to seeking the truth. During the live show, these words fittingly become the official call and response, which further exemplify his resonating purpose.
“Don’t spend too much time in mirrors, Reflections will get you caught up,” he raps in the song “Reginald.” “Connections will get you brought up in conversation, You basing everything you know about me from moments, I’m more a compilation of composition, it’s complicated.”
While Jenkins denied Sacramento Press the opportunity for an interview, his decision to let the lyrics in his music speak for themselves is a true test of his character. When an artist’s body of work has gone through the rings to create a lane of its own, the artist’s voice can be heard through any medium. And the second you hear Jenkins’ voice come into a song or poem, there is a sonic gravitation to hear what he has to say.
In his latest album, “Pieces of A Man,” he demonstrates the ability to live in a fan’s mind for a long time as he touches on the mundane conundrums we often go through in love, self-appreciation, social and cultural circles. His selection of production, which features Black Milk, THEMpeople, BadBadNotGood, and Kaytranada, among others, provides the necessary space for Jenkins to move his spirit freely throughout the album.
Just as the album’s cover shows a reflection of Jenkins in broken pieces of a mirror, one of the most underlying topics in his music is the art of rejecting social norms and their projections on an individual, which he eloquently demonstrates on the track “Gwendolynn’s Apprehension.” Based on a poem by African American poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the song addresses the youth’s self-depreciating morals in order to be “cool.”
“Pardon my judgement, and its worth, I’m trying to be reflective, don’t mean to be overt with it,” raps Jenkins. “All this s— connected no cursive, it’s more coercive than simple calligraphy, Figure me, a whole different n—- from what I was meant to be.”
The person Mick Jenkins will become in the world is exciting to see, or listen to, as his artistry becomes more refined with each new project. “Pieces of A Man,” is the kind of album that fills a hungry listener’s appetite with wisdom in a contemporary setting. While he refrains from taking too much credit for the lessons he is learning himself, his keen ability to share his reflections will continue to reward both him and his listeners. As his ability to address these challenges more explicitly becomes a part of his repertoire, Jenkins should have no problem seizing the world he deserves.
“I really challenge you to try to be more intentional about spreading love and reacting to things differently than you usually do,” said Jenkins to the crowd on Wednesday. “I promise you I need the challenge as well, but it’ll change your whole f—— life, you know what I’m saying?”
For more information on Mick Jenkins and the “Pieces of A Man” Tour, visit MickJenkins.com.