Hidden amongst Chicago’s gritty drill scene lies Mick Jenkins. First bursting onto the scene on 2014 with his breakout mixtape The Water[s], a captivating look into the 25-year-old’s world – one filled with various odes to arguably his two favorite things: water and weed. “Water more important than the gold… People save your souls,” he yearns on the title track of the same tape. While he quenched our thirst for music last year with his Wave[s] EP, it wasn’t until this year that we got his proper debut album. The Healing Component is a lo-fi, warbly record, but most of all, it’s about love.
Whereas the main theme of Water[s] was good old H20, the focus on this album is love, or lack thereof. “And please don’t lose the love/N*ggas got heart, never use enough,” he raps on the crunchy “As Seen in Bethsaida.” That line pretty much sums up what Jenkins wants to get across on THC. The intros to a few of the songs include Mick talking with an unnamed woman, with the former expalining to the latter (and the listener) what “The Healing Component” is all about. With all the negativity spreading around the world, Jenkins is hear to tell us that he believes love (THC) is the answer. Perhaps no song echoes this statement more than second track “Spread Love,” where Jenkins pleads to the masses on the chorus to spread love anyway you can. He’s still up to his old hydration tricks though, as shown on “Fall Through.” “Don’t you feel the soul?” he asks. “That’s the truest well.” While these songs carry with them a message of purity and self-love, they can sometimes come off a little too preachy, something that Jenkins is going to have to balance as his career moves forward.
Not every song comes off as a humanity lesson though. At times Jenkins’ creativeness overshadows the overall theme of the songs themselves. “Communicate” is a bouncy house-influenced track about the importance of talking things out. Next track “Plugged” has him ruthlessly spitting bars before slowing down on the hook for his usual sermon. “I think I might have what you want,” he says. “This THC ain’t no f*ckin’ weed.” While jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD make a pleasant appearance midway through the album, the best surprise comes at the end of the record. “Angles” would be just another better-than-average track if not for fellow Chicagoan rapper Noname’s straight up renegade on the song’s second verse. “I am absolutely, positively happy/Exponential, gratitude for rapping,” she opens, using her patented nonchalant delivery.
The Healing Component is an ambitious album in the sense that it can sometimes overwhelm the listener with the same message on seemingly every song. By the same token, it’d be difficult to say that the world doesn’t need someone drilling ideas of love and purity into their skulls. There’s enough creativity here that offsets Jenkins’ preaching, though he cuts it awfully close. As it stands, THC is the product of a vision realized, and we should gladly take it.