Mick Jenkins' album The Circus (photo:: )
Album reviews
Mick Jenkins
The Circus
Release year:
Cinematic Music Group
05 February 2020 / by Demar Grant (author)

Movement: Neo-soul, Southern hip hop

Lane: Outkast, Isaiah Rashad, Kendrick Lamar

Mick Jenkins is a thinker and with great introspection comes seasoned thoughts. Duly, Mick Jenkins' career has been defined by expression of those seasoned thoughts. His ability to wander, to reveal truths and subtle realities is what lead to his breakout. Across The CircusMick Jenkins does the same wandering through the tent only to reveal unrecognizable displays.

It wouldn't be a circus without a presentation but instead of the usual hilarity and brashness of the circus, Jenkins opts for the inverse. Guitar chords replace drum rolls while groovy bass lines replace the garish brass.

Instead of showy grandstanding Jenkins settles for slow reveals with his lengthy bars. He's able to slowly explain his trouble with police even though "I said we didn't want smoke, so when the cops popped up / It was pop smoke, niggas proceeded to get on that fuck shit."  Jenkins' rhymes are poetry featuring off-kilter bars, unusual schemes and winding ideas but the winding becomes labyrinthine. Jenkins' lyrics are so hypnotic that they can fool you into thinking he's dropping knowledge even when they're merely mesmerizing.

Jenkins holds your hand through his songs by bringing celebrities and social leaders to 'The Light' and calling himself "more Malcolm than Martin, a bit more Baldwin than both". He uses references as handholds in a verse when zoomed gives a disjointed display of Christianity, Romans, Backwoods and James Baldwin held together by alliteration.

Without substance to fill his songs Mick Jenkins is often left sounding like that one friend who took one poli-sci class and spent a weekend with the neighbourhood hotep. When Jenkins abandons his musings for braggadocio on 'Flaunt', it falls flat on it's face. The woozy synth and counting hi-hats do nothing to reinforce Jenkins monotone delivery, in a effort to display cold confidence it comes off as fake flexing.

Throughout the rest of The Circus Jenkins' methodical bars are complimented by slow, hypnotic production. Unafraid to let you think about his bars, production is understated, punctuated with birds chirping and watery xylophones. The Circus sets a laid-back tone while we roam the tent with Jenkins pointing out attractions.

There's a lot on display at The Circus, but little that's distinguishable. As Mick Jenkins offers his tour around the tent it's hard to say no but at the end of it you'd be hard-pressed to remember exactly what you saw.

Rating: 6.8

Fire: Carefree, The Fit, Different Scales

Ice: Flaunt


The author

Demar Grant

I'm just trying to put you on. @DemarJGrant

1 Comment(s)

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  1. Namaste (Anonymous)

    Even though the lyrics were lacking at times, the production really picked everything up. Should be at least a 7.

    3 monthS 21 days ago

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