Mick Jenkins Review: Max Watts, Melbourne
Fewer rappers words carry as much weight as Mick Jenkins' heavy bars. Remarkably poignant lyrics coming off the back of a series of African-American deaths at the hands of police brutality and institutionalised racism seemingly at its most evident in recent memory, Jenkins lyrics are as powerful in both meaning as they are in sound. Rich in intricacy the words of Jenkins' oftentimes carry lateral meanings; 'drink more water', Jenkins says, is a call to absorb the 'truth' and a dominant theme of his 2014 mixtape, 'The Water[s]'. His latest release is also a deeply philosophical view of 'love' and the state of mankind as a whole, 'The Healing Component' (THC) serves as another article to the growing list of socially conscious rap productions, another feather in the cap of Jenkins and a new set of lessons from Jenkins revolving around the simple 'truth' (or, water) that the healing component for humanity is simply to spread love.
On Friday (27th, January) Figaro was fortunate enough to see Mick Jenkins at Max Watts in Melbourne. After a strong opening act from young local Melbournian up and comer, 'Baro' who put down some raw, but undeniably strong bars, we can all look forward to further work in an exciting, blossoming Australian rap scene which is in many ways still finding its feet and identity.
With a live performance as large as his 6"5 stature, it was fitting that Jenkins opened with 'Jazz' from his first mixtape which was certainly a crowd pleaser, the hit track had the crowd moving from the first minute and exhibited his superb vocal range and fluidity as a rapper, which had hands in the air and kept them there until the conclusion of his show.
Many times those few words took to the air in a steamy Max Watts as the scent of a different THC floated about. One of the many teachings and explanations of his work Jenkins offered to the crowd throughout the show, a constant reminder of the message embedded in his work only involved the crowd more. A series of mashups and samples, from the likes ofJoey Bada$$ and arguably one of the most iconic verses in rap history from NWA (need I even say it) 'fuck the police' raised the tempo a little higher and brought the crowd into a frenzy. "...got it bad 'cause I'm brown" repeated several times followed by the song 'Daniel's Bloom' was both a highlight as it was profoundly haunting, "pray for me" lyrics off the aforementioned track bore a chilling tone, yet extraordinarily enjoyable in the sense each lyric held genuine purpose. When the bars stopped coming, Jenkins accompanying DJ GreenSllime, took ahold of the crowd dropping a selection of rap classics on the decks from Snoop Dog to Tribe, allowing for the charismatic Jenkins to join the lively crowd and form a very memorable dance circle. Testament to the MC's character not only as a performer but as a person should also be mentioned, The Chicago based rapper stuck around almost an hour after the show to take photo's, sign t-shirts and have a quick word to his loyal fans who came out to support him, a small act of kindness which only goes to solidify his relationship with the crowd and spread the love he preaches.
Perhaps a little brief, but as they say, 'time flies when you're having fun' but Jenkins left us thrilled with his performance and a little reflective on the train home after what was a night of personal reflection, lesson in social wisdom and a truly memorable concert.