January 6, 2015


Tosten Burks asked Jeeves.

Whether or not you think it’s a rapper’s obligation to write protest music during times of protest, Chicago’s Mick Jenkins cares not. An autumn removed from his eerie, brilliant, peanut butter loafer’d hydration PSA The Water[s], the windy city’s flyest Creflo Dollar critic didn’t take to the studio this embattled Christmas season for solidarity’s sake. The sparse, vicious “11 is a rant, backed into a corner, a verse begun with no intention of finishing, an incredulous damnation of a world where such a song is appropriate. Clones attack. Politicians fix pot-holes. The children of police officers tie up their Chuck Taylors.

On the Worldstar hit that sparked Mick’s ascendance, he prays he’s never too preachy, but doesn’t reject the pulpit. Here, over NIFD’s ominous church bells and ghostly strands of falsetto, he sounds exhausted by the task, his breath stolen less by backwards cops and more by relentless contradiction. Meanwhile on the ginger ale gawd’s other end-of-year gift, Ambi Lyric’s slippery jazz lounge hallucination “Fate,” he sounds eleven times more happy to be there, rolling chemdawg for an alto who can’t harmonize with his baritone, throwing love to the wind, shaking his head at those who fail to dance in the rain.


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