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$$ and Noname Gypsy (rant coming up) both make impressive appearances. Jenkins does a superb job placing silky hooks from Ebony and Jean Deaux (while not overusing the cherished r&b hook).
The Water(s) is one of those rare audio experiences where after several listens you still wouldn’t change a thing. It doesn’t have any fat on it. No bad interludes, odd beat choices or off track/doesn’t fit songs. A singular vision of duality binds the music; the hostile residue of painful experience vs. the journey for peaceful reality. Every song feels like a battle in the war and no…it doesn’t feel over when you finish the mixtape.
P.S. I don’t want to be rude but I am at a blue balls level of anticipation for that Noname Gypsy mixtape. Her Acid Rap guest feature blew a lot of people away but every appearance she’s made since has been at the same level. On Comfortable(on This project) I found myself getting angry she is so good. I want that tape as soon as possible and waiting is unsettling.
Stream or download The Water(s) below:
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged Acid Rap, Chicago Hip Hop, datpiff, Dj Dahi, Joey Bada$$, Kind of Blue, Mick Jenkins, mixtape review, Noname Gypsy, Statik Selektah, The Water(s)
Song Review-Lovely Day by Vic Mensa produced by Vic Mensa and Peter Cottontale
Anyone can be guilty of thinking too hard. When Vic Mensa dropped INNANETAPE I was excited to listen. This is someone who was burning up guest verses all over the place. It turns out that its fun with great production and I’m still not sure how comfortable I am with how close it is to the Acid Rap template that Chance The Rapper laid down.
You can certainly hear a lot of Chance and Acid Rap in silly super rapping like “Ali Baba stole his Product, Prada private stock soaring…” Acid Rap and INNANETAPE are full of lines that if you look at long enough are senseless sound mergers. Vic does the same thing Chance did in terms of following “happy” songs like this with gross out fun like Tweakin(which features Chance).
The beat is off key and warm. I love the fact that Peter Cottontale is a major producer and someday I will find a youtube of some big smoked out rap goon shouting his name out amongst positively used curse words.
I have a feeling that every time I listen to INNANETAPE and Lovely Day I’ll be enjoying it while keeping the argument going. This clearly isn’t style biting since these guys are kind of in the same crew; artists rub off on each other. How much of that is ok? How much of it is distracting? It would be reasonable to say this is a sound signature of the crew and he is one. Aside from all this previously described nonsense it’s a fun listening experience that you should give yourself if you dug Acid Rap. Hopefully it won’t feel like a sequel, it will feel like a companion.
Chance the Rapper-Acid Rap mixtape review
Acid Rap is a startling first listen. I guess the prerequisite is being able to enjoy the playfully childish nasally delivery Chance the Rapper brings to every song. If you do, every verse comes out as an amorphous blob that seems like it could end and become a chorus at any time. The power in the project is that feeling of the unexpected hanging over every moment of every song. He rhymes words with each other like a juggler adding more balls, like AZ circa Do or Die. The difference is that AZ was going in on street life from a D-Boy perspective. The lyrics Chance puts up on Acid Rap are a mixture of scattered and personal, “Wore my feelings on my sleeveless, my weed seedless, my tree’s leafless. I miss my diagonal grilled cheeses, and back when Mike Jackson was still Jesus (Acid Rain).” On the same song he says “Lately my verses seem not so versey.” Acid Rap is very conscious of how different it is, how new this is not only for Chance but for the listener who is used to the 16 than the hook.
After the first listen I remember thinking “I can’t believe I got this for free.” If you google reviews for Acid Rap you are entering a realm of overwhelming praise. This is a 19 year old rapper who shows enough skill on this mixtape alone to be considered a top tier lyricist. A lot of critics have made Kendrick Lamar comparisons and while Chance is the closest (outside of Ab-Soul) to master that fluid Bruce Lee flow, the differences are important. Kendrick wants to speak for a generation, Chance wants to speak for himself and make fun music. He doesn’t exist as an anti-trap or drill figurehead. He doesn’t just shout out Fat Trel and others on Acid Rap he tweets Waka Flocka lyrics cause he honestly likes them. As great as his previous mixtape 10day was it was full of experiments, some that worked some that didn’t. Everything here works. The reggae/sublime feeling NaNa produced by Brandun Deshay still feels like something Chance and Action Bronson can comfortable fit into. Most of the discussion about how different this project sounds should come down to Chance and his amorphous blob lyrics, while the beats carry off-sequence signatures it always feels like they exist that way for Chance rather than the other way around.
This mixtape is the art pick of the year; it’s lyrically impressive and good natured. In the same way that Killer Mike made a conscious play for the spotlight when he put out R.A.P. Music that’s what Chance did here. He got all the important guest features you’d want(guest verses are amazing, Twista kills Cocoa Butter Kisses and Noname Gypsy says “the only time he loves me is naked in my dreams” fantastic) and production from Jake One, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, and Blended Babies. Its an easy pick for mixtape of the year and the day it dropped I listened to Juice four times and sang it out loud in a public bathroom(I am that dude).
I don’t think it is the mixtape of the year, it never lets you relax. While everything Fiend lays down on Lil Ghetto Boy feels like a hook nothing on Acid Rap does. It requires a level of attentive listening that is admirable but limiting. It’s beautiful though and what I enjoy most about it is how honestly anti-violence it is. He talks about how unsafe Chicago is from all angles, the police, how easy it is to get a gun, and the summer bringing out the violence. Chance is never coming at you like the caged puppy commercial asking for your help, he’s just brave enough to admit that the violence scares him. He’s brave enough to talk about it on overwhelmingly sad songs like Pusha Man (which ends with him sharing that feeling of fear with the audience) and on social media/interviews. He knew exactly how good this tape was; the day after it dropped he was spelling his ad lib for new listeners. Make no mistake Acid Rap is his come up and if you’re not in on it now; get ready for his exposure to find you wherever you are.
Stream or Download Acid Rap below:
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged 10day, Ab-Soul, Acid Rap, AZ, Brandon Deshay, Bruce Lee Flow, Chance the Rapper, Chicago Hip Hop, Kendrick Lamar, Killer Mike, Noname Gypsy, R.A.P. Music, Twista