Chicago artist Mick Jenkins continues to impress with his hypnotic sophomore album.
Story by Angela Schiff
Mick Jenkins welcomes back his lyrical powers and jazzy beat in the 17 track album Pieces of a Man.
Mick Jenkins is just happy that you’re here, ready to listen and think. At least, that’s the sentiment on ‘Heron Flow,’ Jenkins begins with a spoken word poem. “We are here this evening to give you some free thought/Some food for thought.”
In an interview with Daze prior to the album’s release, Jenkins stated that the titular man in Pieces of a Man is himself.
“What we see of somebody out…are personas – most of the time we’re only getting pieces of people, but we do not refrain from making that be the whole you,” Jenkins says.
Perhaps that explains the thematically disjointed nature of the album. Jenkins jumps from topic to topic, with no clear destination. The unifying element is the inherently fragmented nature of human interaction. Rather than having a central theme throughout the album, each song serves as a snapshot of a specific moment. You are exposed to one man, in a single situation, devoid of context. It’s a journey through Mick Jenkins’ discovery of the many parts that make him whole.
Lyrically, he’s at the top of his game. Across the album, Jenkins tackles a variety of subjects ranging from spirituality, fame and consent with a lyricism akin to poetry. His flow and delivery are both impeccable, yet sound very organic. The auditory aspect is rounded off by clean production across the album, with the Kaytranada produced “Understood” standing out.
On a complete listen-through, however, some of the tracks blend together and make it difficult to assess the individual merit of each song. Pieces of a Man may have been improved through careful cutting of tracks. Nevertheless, the album is still solid. If you enjoy complex lyrics, beautiful production and jazz melodies, give it a listen.
Reginald (feat. Ben Hixon)