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Mick Jenkins Doesn’t Miss on His New Album Elephant in the Room

            If you love great lyricism and like to keep up with talented rappers who may not fully cross over to the mainstream, then you have probably already heard of Mick Jenkins. If you don’t fall into that description, allow me to introduce you to this Chicago rapper. Mick Jenkins has built a reputation of being a top tier lyricist and a very cerebral rapper who often likes to cover very ambitious ideas and concepts on his albums. With his latest offering, Elephant in the Room, Jenkins ditches the grand scope that his previous albums had and delivers a short but tight album and shows us that he hasn’t missed a step.

            Though Jenkins isn’t aiming to do something as ambitious as define the meaning of love like he did on The Healing Component, or walk in the line of poet Gil Scott-Heron as he did on Pieces of a Man, there’s still a concept that Jenkins aims to convey on this LP. At the end of the super laidback “Stiff Arm,” Ayinde Cartman performs a spoken word piece that plainly sums up what the titular elephant in the room is: the acknowledgement of the atrocities that America has and still commits against black people. As Cartman says, “A few thousands pound of what the f*ck now.” What does America do? How can the country move forward? What can black people do? It’s the topic America runs away from. Mick Jenkins spends the album shining a light on this, but also reflecting on himself.

On songs like “Things You Could Die For Doing While Black,” Jenkins does quite literally list activities that black people can and often have died for doing while being black. The things he lists ranges from mild offenses like speeding and smoking weed to basic everyday acts such as going for a jog or sleeping in his bed. It’s startling to me because most of these everyday acts I can remember hearing of innocent black people dying while doing, and it hurts. Then there’s songs like “Is, This Cigarettes,” where he raps more about himself and even reminisces on his life. It’s a standout for me due to the melodic nature of the song; this is Mick Jenkins bag, when he’s on a song, and he can get a little groove on. Elephant in the Room continues Mick Jenkins run of great lyrical and cerebral albums. I hope you give the album a listen too.

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