June 28, 2013

Will Hagle is Jeezy-laughing at life.

Mick Jenkins might be the Al Capone of modern Chicago gangsta rap. Elegantly dressed, yet menacing. Over a string-heavy, darkly cinematic beat that sounds like an outtake from Cage’s Movies For The Blind, Jenkins explains what he will do to you if he catches you on the street without the proper defenses. Warnings include catching you in the back with a bat and clipping your wings until you’re fly as a penguin. Threats rarely sound so cool.

The song, entitled “Lack,” can be found on Jenkins’ recently released Trees & Truth, a mixtape with song titles that range from biblically-themed (“The Knowledge of Good and Evil”) to more straightforwardly-termed (“Fuck Wit Me Famo”). Jenkins borders the line between conscious-rap and whatever you can call the opposite of conscious rap — and no track is more of a blend than these two than “Lack.”

Jenkins positions himself as the more mature, intelligent counterpart to his Chicago-based contemporaries. The last time we had a rapper warn us about lackin’, it came courtesy of Lil Reese on a Young Chop beat. Waka Flocka Flame and Wale featured on that track, so rest assured it consists of noisy drums and much noisier verses. Mick Jenkins dials things down. He doesn’t use molly but he’s “shroomin’ like Koopa Troopa.” He’s still the aggressor, he’s just much more slick about it.

That slickness may be derived from the fact that, unlike many in Chicago’s drill scene, Jenkins is not yelling. He speaks slowly and enunciates clearly in a monotone voice, which allows him to refer to himself the “rap game MacGruber” and sound sincere. The video for “Lack” finds Jenkins in Freddy Krueger mode: stalking his prey on the streets of New York, terrifying yet another city. By the end of the clip, he’s dancing in a car and laughing while eating thin-crust pizza. Somehow, this makes him even more frightening.

ZIP: Mick Jenkins – Trees and Truths (Left-Click)

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!