Mick Jenkins shows why he’s one of the best rappers in Chicago with Pieces of a Man | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Mick Jenkins shows why he’s one of the best rappers in Chicago with Pieces of a Man 

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click to enlarge Mick Jenkins

Mick Jenkins

Sam Schmieg

Mick Jenkins has become one of the best rappers in the city (if not the country) by making music that comes across as if he’s inviting you into a deep conversation. Because his songs that take on race, consent, systemic injustice, and black history, among other subjects, you can't passively listen to them—they require the type of attentiveness that makes your listening experience an interaction. His best tunes arrive gilded and shine to a degree that it can take at least a couple dozen listens to begin to approach his headier points. The resplendent, soul-influenced sound of October’s Pieces of a Man (Free Nation/Cinematic Music Group) bolsters Jenkins’s ascendancy and makes the case for his crossover pop potential. Though he’s a rapper with big bars and big ideas, when he half-croons in his commanding baritone atop tender adult-contemporary guitars on “Plain Clothes,” I can picture a future when his voice graces R&B radio hits. And since Jenkins does a great job encouraging his listeners to reexamine the world around them and the roles they play in it, it’s a change I hope arrives soon.   v

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