Mixtape Review-The Water(s) by Mick Jenkins
It’s just not as simple as the presentation. Most important musical projects fit this description: Cream wasn’t as simple as great guitar work, Sinatra wasn’t as simple as love songs or whistfulness, Kind of Blue is more than a polished listen and great introduction to Jazz. In this same way The Water(s) is just as much about disenchantment as it is finding peace. It’s just as negative as it is positive. As low key and meditative as THC is 514 is just as scaly and paranoid; the title track of the mixtape is an important centerpiece. A thoughtful mixture of ideas like not selling your soul to achieve your artistic goals and staying thankful for the water which provides a peaceful counterpoint, a foundational element we can count on.
The thoughtful moments are plenty throughout. Little lines you might miss can blow you backwards like “Gotta move so many keys to unlock the boxes we trapped in (Who Else).” Intelligent construction of ideas allows for a listening experience that stays fresh but my favorite Mick Jenkins lines don’t feel delivered from a beautiful mind but spat out of a militant survivor “Southside N_ seen a whole lotta sh#$, six point stars, and a whole lotta dope with a shooter that I missed that’s a whole lotta bricks. The city that raised me, the people that taught me…the differences are crazy. Its all love though, know that I’m gonna share my light when your vision gets hazy (Dehydration).” Songs like Healer where Jenkins tries desperately to find peace only to blow up at joke acts like Riff Raff for taking up space, feel dazzlingly vivid.
You don’t typically find this class of production and guest star on an artist’s sophomore mixtape. At a total of fifteen tracks Statik Selektah, Cam from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Kirk Knight, and DJ Dahi all show up knowing they are in the right place; while Joey Bada$$ and Noname Gypsy (rant coming up) both make impressive appearances. Jenkins does a superb job placing silky hooks from Ebony and Jean Deaux (while not overusing the cherished r&b hook).
The Water(s) is one of those rare audio experiences where after several listens you still wouldn’t change a thing. It doesn’t have any fat on it. No bad interludes, odd beat choices or off track/doesn’t fit songs. A singular vision of duality binds the music; the hostile residue of painful experience vs. the journey for peaceful reality. Every song feels like a battle in the war and no…it doesn’t feel over when you finish the mixtape.
P.S. I don’t want to be rude but I am at a blue balls level of anticipation for that Noname Gypsy mixtape. Her Acid Rap guest feature blew a lot of people away but every appearance she’s made since has been at the same level. On Comfortable(on This project) I found myself getting angry she is so good. I want that tape as soon as possible and waiting is unsettling.
Stream or download The Water(s) below: