If you have listened to any of Mick Jenkins’ work in the past, you are familiar with his fascination with water. In The Water[s] (2014) and Wave[s] (2015) Jenkins continuously preaches that water is the true healing component within life. Although the idea of water being the true healer in the face of life’s greatest adversities seems simplistic and somewhat naive, the poetry underlying this whole concept is neither. In Jenkins’ debut, highly anticipated album his work delves even deeper into the exploration and understanding of what are the truths of life and how his concept of water fits into it all.
The record which is titled, The Healing Component (THC), was released on September 23rd, 2016. In this album, the talented rapper from Chicago sets out to translate his concept of “water” into its meaning “love” through the story told within his music. The album continuously promotes the theme of developing and embracing one’s love for self. It also encourages everyone to then share this abundance of love among others in order to fight against the truth of suffering that exists in life. “Spread Love”, which was the first single to be released from the album, describes Jenkins’ idea clearly. The second single which is titled, “Drowning”, was released along with a music video and they both scrutinize and shine light on the dichotomy in the world where beauty and pain are so intertwined. In the song, Jenkins’ voice is so breathy it gives the impression of actually drowning. The sounds of the percussions by BADBADNOTGOOD are strong and they act to create a storytelling vibe which holds the audience’s full attention. A dreamy, nightmare effect is achieved from the pairing of the piano with that of Jenkins’ voice. All of these components create a complexity which strengthens the impact of the story being told through the lyrics. “I can’t breathe” is sung over and over again in the song, and the lyric is a direct quote from Eric Garner in his last minutes of life. The song draws attention to the existence of discrimination and police brutality within the United States. As a whole, the album questions why there is such a prevalence of violence within the world today and ultimately how we can help to improve this situation for one another.
The album was produced by multiple well-known names including Rascal, THEMpeople, Sango, BADBADNOTGOOD, and Kaytranada, to name a few. A lot of the songs are groovy, while others are more hard hitting. The use of the piano adds layers of emotion, while the drum beats and percussions bring life and strength to the album. It is Mick Jenkins’ voice which ties all of the pieces together to form a very cohesive and complex poetry throughout the album. Although the theme of the piece is quite explicit, Jenkins regularly uses implied imagery and wordplay to allow his listener the opportunity for critical thinking and analysis about his lyrics, about his message, and also about the world we live in.