Mick Jenkins and The Healing Component
"Between the dark truths and delirious musicality of Chicago, Mick Jenkins finds his niche in hip-hop"
For our second installment of the Fox Fest highlights, we’ve got an interview with Mick Jenkins. As thirsty as I was, and though he stole my water mid-interview *insert joke about drinking more water* it’s all love for our former classmate making waves in the industry.
Rachael: So Mick, we know Chicago is your hometown, but Huntsville in a way has been like a transitional stage for you. This is the place where you kind of got into rapping, Art n’ Soul (Oakwood University's slam poetry collective), and you kind of came to terms with your gift as a rapper here. What I want to know is how does it feel to be back in this city performing in front of your peers, your fans, and your friends? Actually, this is the first time this has happened to you right? Performing in Huntsville?
Mick Jenkins: This is the first time since my international success. I don’t know, I haven’t really been able to take it in very much yet. I’m a pretty reflective person, so I’ll probably have more to say tomorrow but it’s crazy, kind of weird. There are a lot of people that know me better than a lot of my fans, and I don’t really know what they think of me right now. Don’t care that much, but it is something that I’m aware of, you feel me? So it’s weird.
Jode-Leigh: So your latest project is called “The Healing Component.” Throughout the album, you have a conversation with your sister about what love is. You guys go back and forth trying to figure out if you can truly love everyone the same. Have you figured out whether or not you can love everyone the same? Is it realistic to recognize that we love everyone in different ways?
M: I think it’s definitely realistic to recognize that we love people in different ways. When I said that on the album, I was more trying to reflect God’s love. When I think about God’s love I think unilateral. It’s for everyone. It’s the same, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done. So I think trying to reflect that, that's where I was coming from but like you said it's just necessary to acknowledge that that's just not how we do it [love].
J: So I was hella surprised to see you sampled the Valentine's Day video (a vlog created by Mick asking fellow college students on Valentine's Day what their definition of love is) from a couple of years ago.
M: Oh yea, yea.
J: I was low-key mad.
M: You were in that?
J: Yea, I gave a really stupid answer for what love is. I didn’t know.
J: One thing I noticed about you is that when you win, everybody around you wins. So was that [video clip sample] to kind of pay homage to your Oakwood people?
M: Not so much, it was really just something I did about love already. I wanted to splice interviews and the knowledge of certain people about love on the album, but I abandoned that idea and decided to use something that I had already done years before that kind of spoke to the fact that for a while now I have been trying to figure out what love is, and how it operates and how it’s supposed to be. Even when I wasn’t fully aware of the Healing Component becoming something like it was going to be for me.
R: One of my personal faves on the album is “As Seen in Bethsaida”. I just love the beat; it's got a good vibe to it.
M: Thank you, not a lot of people say that.
R: Yea, its dope! I noticed there were some references to the New Testament story of Jesus healing the man that was blind. In writing the song, were you making a connection between Bethsaida being a place of healing and the album being about a healing component?
M: Hmm...I guess, I think that's why I ended up calling the title that, just so that it could click for people. It wasn't so direct, as you just said it to me. I just realized, “Oh yeah I guess that is that, you know?”
R: Well, you’re welcome. [laughs]
M: [laughs] But I mean, it's subconscious I guess maybe it works you know?
J: My favorite song is “Fucked Up Outro.” That song goes hard.
M: That’s awesome, I love it.
J: Yea, yea it’s a very confident song. It’s almost like you were solidifying your position like, “Don’t eff with me, respect my name type of shit.” Did something happen that made you say, “Yo I need to be serious for a sec.” What space were you in to make that song?
M: It’s a space that I’m constantly in. I just feel like people underestimate me, underrate me; I’m underrated, however, you want to put it. I could rap better than a lot of people so I think instead of just one song I got to give people a whole album of that.
R: So do you think your fans know who Mick Jenkins is as an artist? Do you think you’ve been able to convey to them who you really are?
M: I think so, but you know it's perception. Perception is everything. I know there’s a lot of stuff people miss, there’s a lot of stuff people misinterpret. I don't think people know who I am at all, but I’m going to continue to try to tell them. Tell them what I’ve done and what I’ve learned from, my experiences. I have met a fan who told me about myself pretty well based on my music, it was pretty cool honestly. It scared me for a second, but it’s like everything he was telling me was from my music. So it’s like if you really paying attention, you’ll hear me.
J: This year you said you’re going to put out two projects, and you’re going to give everybody everything. So what can we expect next?
M: Two albums.
J: Yea...That’s it?