Chicago rap has and is going through a sort of creative renaissance over the past few years, with the artists championing the scene taking it worldwide. Last night two Chicagoans, Noname and Mick Jenkin’s sprinkled some of their sounds across the Village Underground, London.
With Noname opening the night, the South Side Chicago hailing artist, performed some of the tracks from her recently released project ‘Telefone’. Drink in hand, paired with her vocalist, the poetry slam finalist (fact of the day: in 2010 she came third in Chicago’s annual Louder Than A Bomb slam poetry competition) dropped her sweet, yet very real musing on life in Chicago.
Dropping tunes from ‘Yesterday’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Diddy Pop’, complete with her stand out skippy cadence and her ability to make you listen to her words and themes – all without feeling like you’re being lectured at. Noname’s poetry background really allowed her to connect with the audience, she was welcoming, consistently interacting – and wanting us to interact back – she even did a ‘Fuck Trump’ refrain – and needless to say Village agreed. Noname was almost the perfect opening for Mick, sonically; ‘Telefone’ rests on delicate keys, wind instruments and Noname’s detailed path through pain, but also happiness.
Noname finished, and met with a sea of applause came a brief interlude with the music. While waiting for Mick Jenkins the venue filled with more and more fans – and loads of mellow hip-hop sounds. About 20 mins later, Skepta ‘It Ain’t Safe’ burst into the speakers, and out of nowhere a bouncy Mick Jenkins burst on to the stage; it was time to drink more water. Getting into his 2014 banger ‘Jazz’ lifted from his standout project ‘Wave[s]’. With his double time flow and impeccable delivery and stamina, Jenkins leaped into tunes from his 2014 project as well as consistently reminding the audience to drink more water, and with the energy turned up to 100, that was necessary.
Jenkins wasn’t solo though. Musically he sits on the cusp of jazz, blending hip-hop and R&B, packed with heavy drums. So, it was only right he had his drummer Noah, on the stage with him, as well as bringing Noname back out to perform ‘Comfortable’ and Kirk Knight made an appearance for ‘I Know’. With tunes like ‘Dehydration’ and ‘P’s & Q’s’ keeping the momentum and energy high, Mick Jenkins message was never lost. And while his debut studio album, ‘The Healing Component’ is clear in its mission is to Spread Love, this was felt in both Jenkins performance and throughout the venue.
With his very presence and very real lyrics, paired with a sold out London crowd, Mick Jenkins proved why he’s one to watch – very closely