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Mick Jenkins spreads love in Philly at the TLA

Mick Jenkins | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | <A href=http://rejibphotography.com target="_blank">rejibphotography.com</a>
Mick Jenkins | photo by Reji B. for WXPN | rejibphotography.com

Chicago-bred rapper Mick Jenkins first caught my ear a couple years ago when I stumbled upon his Trees & Truths mixtape, before he blew up ‘cause I’m hip as all hell. I enjoyed his lyrics the most; his storytelling is vivid and his metaphors and similes clever without ever being trite. I also dug the jazzy production which suited his gravelly, deep, weathered-beyond-his-years voice as well. Then, in 2014, his magnum opus (so far) Water[s] mixtape dropped and Mick became much more known by hip-hop heads nationally. I saw him perform a somewhat surprisingly explosive set at the 150-capacity Barbary shortly after its release, and looked forward to seeing him on a bigger stage. After another solid EP and his debut LP, I got my wish, as Mick’s “Spread Love” tour stopped in Philadelphia at the much larger TLA this past Friday. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Young Statues at Boot & Saddle, The Districts and Abi Reimold at Chameleon Club, Mick Jenkins at The TLA and more…

 

Young Statues
Young Statues | photo by Shervin Lainez

South Jersey emo four-piece Young Statues makes their return to the stage tonight at Boot & Saddle, playing their first gig in two years. Their last release was 2014’s The Flatlands Are Your Friend, so we imagine some new material is in the works for a third album. Whether any of that makes the setlist tonight is unclear, but hey, any chance to hear them rock out on “Athens” is fine by me. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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Rooted in history and looking to the future, Mick Jenkins will bring his sanctified take on hip-hop to the TLA

Mick Jenkins | via facebook.com/MickJenkins

Raised on the Southside of Chicago, but born below the Mason-Dixon line (Huntsville, Alabama, to be exact), the blues lies at the center of Mick Jenkins’ music. Historically, it has been the blues (and its stylistic cousin, gospel) that have acted as the animating core of all black music that has followed it: jazz, rock and roll, R&B and hip-hop. Throughout the shifts in popular music, the blues has remained, like a ghost, giving voice to the struggle, pain and transcendent joy of black American culture.

Over the course of the past decade, hip hop in particular has evolved to a point where synthesis and advanced musical programming techniques have replaced sampling, with more emphasis being placed on creating futuristic soundscapes and less on repurposing the music of the past. For the first time in the history of American popular culture, we are witnessing a mainstream black music that isn’t reliant on the influences of the blues and the gospel sound of the church. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mick Jenkins at The Foundry, Moor Mother at The Pharmacy, Shovels and Rope at Union Transfer and more…

mick jenkins
Mick Jenkins | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins brings his debut album The Healing Component to The Foundry tonight for a Red Bull Sound Select show. We first caught wind of the up-and-comer after his The Water[s] mixtape, a showcase of Jenkins’ prog-hop take on production. Check out his collaboration with BADBADNOTGOOD below and pick up tickets for the 21+ show here.

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Listen to Mick Jenkins collaborate with BADBADNOTGOOD on “Drowning”

Mick Jenkins | courtesy of the artist
Mick Jenkins | courtesy of the artist

Chicago MC Mick Jenkins has become one of our favorite up-and-comers on the national hip-hop scene in recent years, particularly after a mindblowing set at Made in America last year.

Jenkins recently announced his debut LP – The Healing Component, due out on September 23rd – and shared the single “Spread Love,” which you can put your ears to right here. His followup track finds him collaborating once again with Toronto alt-jazz trio BADBADNOTGOOD, who he previously teamed up with on “The Artful Dodger” and “Hyssop of Love.” Continue reading →

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Mick Jenkins, back with a new single, will “Spread Love” at The Foundry in October

Mick Jenkins | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com
Mick Jenkins | Photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN | brightloud.com

Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins unloaded a ton of new info on us this week. For starters, he’ll be swinging by The Foundry at The Fillmore on Saturday, October 15th for a Red Bull Sound Select show with support from St. Louis rapper Smino. It’s just one date on his A Quest For Love tour that will hit 12 cities this fall. Plus, the cross-country journey is paired with the release of Jenkins’ latest, The Healing Component, due out September 23rd via his own label, Free Nation. Wednesday, we got the first taste of the project with lead single “Spread Love.” Continue reading →

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The Weeknd, Metric, Mick Jenkins and more bring the heat to Made In America Day Two

The Weeknd| Photo by John Vettese
The Weeknd| Photo by John Vettese

Day two of this year’s Made in America festival was decidedly more about the music than being seen in the same vicinity as Queen Bey. I was greeted by two very cheery security guards who, after searching my bags and person, handed me a bottle of water about three times bigger than the one I brought with me and told me to have a great time. That definitely set the tone for the day. Continue reading →

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Check out Mick Jenkins’ new mixtape via NPR Music, see him at Made In America

Mick Jenkins | Photo via artist's Facebook
Mick Jenkins | Photo via artist’s Facebook

“They say I be talking ’bout water too much,” Mick Jenkins declares on the first track of his mixtape Wave[s], streaming now via NPR Music. The imagery holds up throughout as a symbol of growth – water as nourishment, as a vehicle for cleansing and purity – expanding on themes Jenkins explored on his excellent 2014 album The Water[s]. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Mick Jenkins at The Barbary, Lightninging at Boot & Saddle, Paper Hearts at World Cafe Live and more…

Mick Jenkins
Mick Jenkins | photo by Robert Beckham

Chicago hip hop artist Mick Jenkins is at The Barbary tonight. He released a new mixtape called The Water[s] last summer, a progressive electronic hip hop record that expertly blends gritty and sublime elements to sound like Jenkins rapping over James Blake. Listen to “Jazz” below and get more information here.

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Just Announced: Chicago hip-hop wunderkind Saba will headline The Trocadero Balcony on March 26

Saba’s #BucketListProject | via facebook.com/sabapivot

If there were any doubt in your mind that Chicago is the best hip-hop city in America right now, do yourself a favor and listen to Saba‘s 2016 outing Bucket List Project. It’s a remarkable collection that builds on the promise of 2014’s Comfort Zone mixtape; the vibe is tripped out but lively, his slice-of-life lyrics are inspiring, funny, occasionally moving and always honest. Soul harmonies mix with trap beats on the amazing “GPS,” the almighty noname teams up with him on “Church / Liquor Store,” juxtaposing virtue and vice.

Simply put, it’s an arrival and thanks to an attention-grabbing verse on Chance the Rapper’s “Angels,” Saba had a lot of people there to greet him last year. This winter and spring, he takes Bucket List on a headlining U.S. tour, and in some good news for those of us who missed his 2015 show at The Barbary with Mick Jenkins and Kirk Knight, it includes a Philly gig, headlining Chinatown’s famed Trocadero Theater balcony stage for an all ages show on Sunday, March 26th. Continue reading →