Mick Jenkins: Elephant in the Room (Free Nation/Cinematic Music Group) | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, November 28th, 2022  

Mick Jenkins

Elephant in the Room

Free Nation/Cinematic Music Group

Nov 03, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On “Jazz,” a song from Mick Jenkins’ 2014 mixtape The Water[s], the emcee’s poetic prowess is on display for all to see. He has always utilized his voice as his greatest weapon—that devastating baritone—but the way he masterfully contorts it on this particular track is chilling. From illuminating alliteration to his potent use of imagery, “Jazz” is Jenkins at his biggest, his most brazen, his most powerful. Fast forward seven years to his third LP, Elephant in the Room, and the rapper has honed in his larger than life persona for something with more gravity.

Jenkins’ creative evolution coincides with his personal one as both a God-fearing man and devoted husband. Along with this growth, however, comes the reality of growing pains. His own mortality comes into question with the ominous opener “The Valley of the Shadow of Death” as well as the nature of his complicated “friendships:” “You ever had a peace treaty with niggas you still don’t fuck wit?/I started turning my cheek.” Jenkins delivers those lines with razor-like precision not out of spite but necessity.

The need to be on the same page as his wife serves as a slow-burning narrative on “Scottie Pippen.” The whimsicality of the neo-soul saturated “Is, This Cigarette” serves as a soft introduction for the heaviest on Elephant in the Room, “Reflection.” The relationship the artist has with his estranged father is painstakingly clear: “We only talk once a year, not even that, I don’t call/I haven’t called in like three/He 6’2” I’m 6’5” he used to make me feel small.”
Jenkins comes to terms with the idea that self-awareness can be difficult to navigate but makes him better in the end. That boastful artist we saw nearly a decade ago, hyper-focused on his own performative abilities, has been replaced with a more cognizant one. This project not only shows the latest iteration of a highly skilled lyricist, but the journey it took to get there. (www.mickjenkins.com)

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