Mick Jenkins has been nice for a while: 5 essential tracks

Before he plays St. Paul Friday night, here's a refresher.

Between Chance/Kanye/NoName etc., 2016 will probably be remembered as the year Chicago hip-hop took over. But even in the wave of tremendous output from the city, what Mick Jenkins is doing is really something special.

Not one for the bright colors or the desolate bleakness that so much of his city's output seems to fall on, Jenkins is creating a deep world all his own.

Fans and critics are finally catching on to the Jenkins wave thanks to his long-awaited debut album The Healing Component released last month, but he's been putting out incredibly consistent music for a half decade already. In celebration of his Friday night show at Amsterdam Bar in St. Paul, here's a quick refresher on how great Jenkins has been.

Mick Jenkins - "Martyrs" (2014)
Jenkins' first major breakout track was 2014's "Martyrs." At the height of fellow Chicago-native Chief Keef's notorious notoriety, Jenkins visually sent up the image Keef and his contemporaries portrayed. He created a musical indictment of its influence minus the moralistic heavy-handedness that often comes with such critiques. It put ears on his 2014 mixtape The Water[s] that haven't left since.

Mick Jenkins - "Value Village"(2011)
But three years earlier, Jenkins recorded the proto-"Thrift Shop" track "Value Village." In a video entirely shot and edited on an iPad, Jenkins details a unique take on clothes shopping.

Mick Jenkins - "Jazz"(2014)
Also from the Jenkins' sleeper hit mixtape The Waters[s], "Jazz" really shows off his strengths as a writer/rapper. Between the lyrical dexterity of subject matter and mastery of his flow, tracks like "Jazz" gave The Water[s] a strong lasting power in an era of constant free releases.

Mick Jenkins - "Your Love" (2015)
Jenkins followed-up with his EP The Wave[s] and its single "Your Love." Sounding radically different than any else Jenkins had released, the Chicago flavored track is downright danceable without compromising what makes his style resonate so much.

Mick Jenkins ft. BADBADNOTGOOD - "Drowning"(2016)
September's release of Jenkins' full-length debut The Healing Component saw the full picture of his artistry being realized. The first single, "Drowning," while dope in its own right with a borderline-avant garde, low-melodic flow, ties together the full water-themed motif Jenkins has been thematically integrating his whole career. Using water as a metaphor for truth, The Healing Component adds depth to his discography in more than numbers.

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