Friday, September 23, 2016

Mick Jenkins wants the best for everyone in 'The Healing Component' debut

The Healing Component by Mick Jenkins
Hydrated rapper and mellow muse Mick Jenkins from Chicago has released his debut studio album, The Healing Component (Sept 23, Free Nation/Cinematic Music), and if you were hoping it would stack up to or outdo his critically acclaimed 2014 mixtape, The Water[s], think again. T.H.C. is a solid LP but not much different from the wavy one’s usual currents. It’s essentially an extension of the type of work he’s been doing the past couple years at least, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. His mind is in the right place here as he fights to prevent slipping in life and disciplines himself to be self-aware and to love himself before trying to counsel others on love. He grapples with this over the entire project, and the soft gentle touch in the beats and his words make it tolerable if not enjoyable or exciting. The healing may not be complete by the end, but it’s definitely underway.
Mick toys with the traditional three verses per song structure of typical rap here as he sometimes delivers only one solid stanza per track. The rest of the time he rhythmically croons in an almost drowsy r&b fashion, but whatever his mode may be, the general feel is strictly languid and listless, with too much similarity and consistency in the music production across all songs, despite the fact that it’s manned by a band of different producers including THEMpeople, Kaytranada, Rascal, BadBadNotGood, Sango, etc. In other words, don’t look for variety of attitude and emotion. Mick and his guests (theMIND, Noname, and more) are either confident in the power of love or a bit lost, sorting through mixed troubled thoughts. Sometimes Mick deals out true philosophy (thoughts saying “all that gold is overrated” and “what do you do with your coin?” pervade “Spread Love”), and other times he shows the conflict and contradiction in his ways: “I can see the bullshit in all of the retail, still I copped the Yeezys though, I bought them hoes resale” (“Love, Robert Horry”).
Mick Jenkins spends so much time being deep and intelligent or trying to be that we’re never thrown a curveball. There are literally no surprises in store. The Healing Component can boast of maturity and introspection, but it chugs along in one casually cool way at one peristaltic speed, that you can’t help but get a little bored by it. For all its faults though, T.H.C. is an achievement in cloud rap with its sleepy communiqués on intriguing philosophy where Mick’s ubiquitous water theme occasionally presents itself and where the fight for trying to get to a healthy enough place to justify speaking on how everyone else should live is a constant never-ending battle. The Healing Component is simply a stable foundation and launch pad for Mick Jenkins to further mobilize future works.
3 out of 5 stars

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