Mike Jenkins Mike Jenkins

Mick Jenkins has figured more than any other artist in the last ten months of reviews on this site. And now he’s playing live in Leeds at the brand new Headrow House, as part of the Beacons metro festival on the 18th October.

Jenkins is based in Chicago, a city that in recent years has been home to some of the most inventive and refreshing hip hop you could hope to hear: artists such as Chance the Rapper, Saba, No Name Gypsy and Vic Mensa – all of whom have worked with Jenkins in some form. His first mixtape appeared in 2012, and in the relatively short period since then, he’s produced an impressive body of work. You can still stream Mickstape, and Trees and Thoughts via DatPiff, and The Pursuit of Happyness is up on Bandcamp. But it was 2014’s “The Waters” that catapulted Jenkins into the spotlight, and deservedly so – it’s a remarkable album. You should also check the incredible Free Nation Rebel Soldier Part 2, released on the AC3 compilation at the back end the same year.

In 2015, collaborations with producers including Kaytranda and Them People give a slightly different feel to the new EP The Wave(s). He also provided the standout contribution on an otherwise fairly lacklustre release from Statik SelekatahThis is an artist who doesn’t stand still, stylistically, and in this era where the genre often plays to the most commercially viable (low) common denominator that feels as refreshing as a cool glass of water on a parched dusty day.

Here’s five reasons why you’d be a fool to miss this one.

Value Village – from “Mickstape” – the first of his releases in January 2012.

Happy Thoughts – from the cumbrously titled “The Pursuit of HappyNess: The Story of Mickalas Cage”

Comfortable – hard to pick a stand out track from such a stellar set as “The Waters” is, but this is a contender

11 – a stand-alone release at the back end of 2014, this an eloquent and powerful response to the killing of Eric Garner by NYPD officers

The Giver from the most recent EP “The Wave(s)”

See you Sunday…

Words by Vicky T