Mick Jenkins wants us to talk about love – but not just romantic love – all types of love. His debut album ‘The Healing Component’ showcases his intense lyrical ability, while forcing us to think and rethink love. The result? A melodic meditation on one of life’s biggest conversations; love.
Lauryn Hill’s debut album, ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’ is one of my favourite albums in the world. It’s got these interludes/skits running through it that were so simple and beautiful, the teacher asks the students: “How many of y’all have ever been in love” and adds jokingly, “I know none of the guys have ever been in love, we don’t get in love right?” Those interludes were the foundations that glued the album together and equally made it great. Mick Jenkins uses a similar framing device in the ‘The Healing Component’, where we hear Mick and his sister having an open dialogue about love. Like the title, it links into the main chemical found in cannabis, this chemical becomes the vehicle to open the narrative and discuss the different strains of love.
Chicago’s Mick Jenkins previous mixtapes ‘The Waters[s]’ and ‘Wave[s]’ showcased his ability to create a cohesive thematic piece of work and his abilities as an artist, who thrives off literary symbolism lined with poetic beauty. So, when ‘The Healing Component (THC)’ became available on the 23rd September, it was a given that listeners could expect some thought-provoking rap. Fifteen tracks in length, with guests features ranging from theMIND, BADBADNOTGOOD, Ravyn Lenae, Noname, Xavier Omar and production duties handed over to the likes of Sango, Kaytranada, IAMNOBODI, Monte Booker and more, sonically ‘THC’ fuses jazz, hip-hop and soulful sounds.
On the Sango produced psychedelic cut, ‘Spread Love’, Mick has a very, very simple message, yet one that’s often convoluted and lost in meaning: love can fix alot of the problems in the world. It would be easy to say that Mick is an idealist on ‘THC’, but he’s more a realist. On tracks such as ‘Strange Love’ Mick takes a satirical stance, acknowledging just how fucked up the world is: ‘We claim that we love our sisters / That’s some strange love, Dr. Strangelove / We claim that we love ourselves’. Then there are tunes like ‘Angels’ which feature Noname and Xavier Omar and promote self-love, even providing a few ways we can all practice and achieve self-love: ‘Man y’all don’t hear me, if you’ve never been alone how you know yourself? If you ain’t up on the water how you grow yourself?‘ Then there’s my personal fave, ‘Drowning’ where Mick tackles police brutality and killings in America, referencing the last words of Eric Garner with the ‘I can’t breathe’ refrain in the track.
Now, sonically, Jenkins’ songs aren’t club bangers. They lack the traditional song structure, many don’t have a chorus and rely on bridges, which often make the songs a bit disjointed. But in a way, it’s that fragmented non-linear structure of his music which allows Mick to breath as a writer and poet. And while the skits, that line the project, often see Mick going from a no to a yes in his responses, his thoughts are circular, and inconclusive, but that’s the beauty of the project. Mick isn’t trying to give a blueprint about what love is, isn’t, and how to love; it’s there to open and start a conversation. And while at times Jenkins’ is wise, which often feels a little too weary and heavy, it’s equally something that needs to be celebrated.
There’s only one thing left to say, Spread Love.
‘The Healing Component’ is available to buy now, and check out the visuals for ‘Drowning’ above.