[Editor's note: We've got lots of Chreece coverage coming in Wednesday's issue. Stay tuned!]
Newly founded hip-hop fest Chreece is chock full of Indiana talent, but Chicago artist Mick Jenkins is set to close out the festival Saturday night at The Hi-Fi. Chreece, a combination of cheers and peace, is a great fit for Jenkins. (WHY?)
“I first heard of Mick through Sirius Blvck [who is also on the Chreece bill, performing with Ghost Gun Summer],” said festival founder Oreo Jones. “Mick has a unique style. He belongs in a diverse line up and I feel like Chreece embodies that. There are so many different sub genres of hip-hop and this festival will have something for everyone. From the art rappers, the trappers, the experimental, based, and the avant garde — I think he will fit in perfectly.”
Known for his conscious rap style, Jenkins burst into the spotlight with concept tape The Water[s].
We chatted with Jenkins a few days before the release of his most recent tape Wave[s] on Aug. 21. It's the latest in a string of releases that has pushed Jenkins to the front of a competitive Chicago scene.
Here’s a portion of that chat.
NUVO: The Wave[s] stream was released on the 1-year anniversary of The Water[s]. How have you changed as an artist over that period?
Mick Jenkins: I’ve had new experiences and growth, just in living life, learning life, and learning music. There’s new things happening in the world, so just constant change.
NUVO: These two projects have a pretty different vibe to them. What were you aiming for on this one?
Jenkins: On The Water[s] I would make music and then adjust it based on the concepts. On Waves[s] I was really just going into the studio and doing exactly what I felt every night and then leaving it like that.
I wasn’t going for anything. I wasn’t trying to do something. I was doing exactly what I felt. We were making music man. “Your Love” which is the standout track [is] something I’ve never done before. I didn’t intend to make a song like that. I got a beat like that and I was like “aw man I can do something with this” — which is refreshing. With The Water[s], that’s what I had been doing so much — adjusting music based on the concept — which is fine, to deliver a concept, but I wanted to take a break from that and Wave[s] was my chance to do that.
NUVO: The Indianapolis show is the first in a crazy busy month for you, 31 shows in 36 days. Got anything special planned to kick things off with a bang?
Jenkins: Just a good show man. It’s brand new music, it’s a brand new set and I have extra elements to the show that I didn’t have before. That’s really what it is, to give people a good show. I think people will feel it, people like the energy in my show — that’ll be all that they need.
NUVO: Speaking of tours, do you any plans to tour with members of FreeNation in the future?
Jenkins: For sure. I think all the members of FreeNation are working, you know what I’m saying? Life’s a world for everybody and we’re going to go about introducing them in a very specific way. I think we’ve had the opportunity to look at Pro Era, and A$ap, and TDE, and how they brought other members to the light. Based off that we’ve got a way that we want to do it and they’ll be introduced very shortly. I think people will be very surprised to hear the caliber of the work from the other five members, it’s right up to par with myself. One of them, J Stock, is actually coming on this tour.
NUVO: You mentioned that Wave[s] was you stepping away from a concept-based tape. Moving forward, do you think you’ll move to adapt to a wider audience?
Jenkins: Nah, definitely not, that’s just for Wave[s]. I’ll always continue to push concepts, always have something to say. I just wanted to take a break from that. Doing Water[s] and then going on tour and then coming off of that I was really tired and I didn’t want to exert all the energy that it takes to do a fully professional 17-track mixtape. I did Water[s] in a year and two months and I did Wave[s] in two months … because of how free-flowing it was and how easy it was to go purely off of rhythms and let those be the waves in the way that they were. A lot of the time that took to do the tape [was] post-production, producing, then people sending me edits and reworks that worked and didn’t work and we had to adjust that. As far as writing goes I was done pretty early and it remained pretty consistent. I just needed a break, that’s all.
NUVO: How important do you think it is to get in the studio and knock out tracks and keep the freshness there?
Jenkins: It’s precious. I feel like it is definitely sharpening my skills. With a track like “P’s and Q’s” being one of the ones that comes out, it’s an opportunity to play around and see what I can do out here.
NUVO: What’s the possibility of you putting back up full versions of your early projects, Mickstape and Pursuit of Happyness?
Jenkins: It’ll be awhile. I definitely want to do that but not right now.
[Editors note: For Jenkins, water represents the essential qualities of life that many people seem to forget, hence the water themed projects.]
NUVO: H2O time, how much water do you drink on an average day?
Jenkins: I just try to make sure my piss is clear. I drink two cups of water in the morning right when I wake up, that’s the first thing that I do. But if I piss and it’s yellow, I’ll grab some water. I just make sure my piss is clear, that’s the best way to do it.
NUVO: I know Wave[s] just dropped, but I have to ask, what’s the timeline for your debut album The Healing Component?
Jenkins: Next year. Next year. Next year. Next year.
NUVO: Which hip-hop artist in the Chicago area should I be looking at?
Jenkins: Hurt Everybody