It’s been a minute since we last heard from Mick in the form of a full-length. Because it took some time for us to get a true full-length from what many consider one of Chicago’s brightest talents, I wanted to make sure to sit with it, to take it in and realize all the Pieces of a Man that Mick puts together here. At a time when masculinity is undergoing a defined referendum, Jenkins offers well-heeled social commentary that continues on a lyrically-leaning career that somehow has still yet to peak.
From the get-go, we find Jenkins back where we last left him before the labels forced him to seek out The Healing Component. Back in his element, observing the world once again from the first person steeled in the omniscient, Jenkins flourishes. He once again leans into jazz meanderings, positioning the entire collection into a sort of avant-garde spoken word set with all the juxtapositions and analogies to match. Possessing a voice strained in baritone, Mick finds clever ways to creatively combine his carefully chosen rhetoric, reminiscent of 60s revolutionaries and counter-culture leaders. This isn’t anything new from Mick, his vocal remedies have paced the scene alongside contemporary wordsmiths from nearby and around the way. Pieces of a Man, which finds Jenkins post-label and at the tail end of a year where he released some of his best work to date as roughs in the lead up to the full-length utilizes his latest release as a referendum on himself and the world at large.
True to his character thus far, the album is efficient. Never one to waste bars, the rhymes are dense throughout. On “Stress Fracture” a single about the duality of the need to deal with inner working and outer triggers while focusing on growth and evolution he rhymes, “I don’t got dollars to deepen my pockets, I got dimes they nippin at the back of my heels, I look good….I stress a lot”. Recently, a report surfaced pointing to Millenials as the most stressed generation to date. It seems Mick is tapping into the psyche of today’s youth without face tats or plastic couplets, instead utilizing the sympathy of having been in the situation before, offering a way out through experience.
To be sure, Pieces of a Man is just another step in the evolution of Mick Jenkins. Roughly six years in the game already, dude has yet to peak and has been getting better with time on every release. After this one, he’s still searching for a certifiable hit, or maybe he isn’t. Regardless, his body of work to date is what New Yorkers wish Joey Bada$$ would have done 8 years ago. He’s not worried, and you shouldn’t be either. One of Chicago’s best storytellers is back with another collection to stir the soul heading into the Fall. To be honest, this release feels like a preliminary peek at 2019. Dive in above and catch the album streaming on Mild Sauce Radio.