Wave[s] is the highly anticipated follow up to Mick Jenkins’ breakthrough mixtape The Water[s]. Blessed with a unique perspective and the gift of clever wordplay, Mick made a name for himself as a standout in Chicago’s eclectic, yet cluttered music scene with a carefully crafted concept record centered around the idea of Water[s] representing all things pure. Wave[s] serves as an extension of the theme, as Mick has stated that the project is a continuation of a story that began two projects ago with 2013’s Trees and Truths. Though heavily applauded for these works the acclaim came with the question of whether Mick could make a project as compelling outside of that soundscape/theme.
With Wave[s] it appears that Mick deviates from the “concept” almost completely. Where The Water[s] stuck to a central theme and was hardly playful, Wave[s] is anything but. Mick steps out of his comfort zone with new topics and themes dealing with everything from love to the a new sub-genre he’s dubbed as “art trap.” “Get Up, Get Down”, a loosie he let off of the project early was a preview of what was to come. Mick experiments as a songwriter like never before; harmonizing, chanting, and of course finding time to rap. “Your Love” seems like a reach for the masses with a hook that could be pushed to radio, and along with records like “The Giver” and “40 Below,” they capture Mick tackling the subject of Love. These all being things that differentiate Wave[s] from The Water[s].
There are those that will clamor for The Water[s] part two and that’s understandable. The famous saying will ring “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” But after one rids themselves from this logic they will understand that Mick is experimenting with different sounds to break out of a box that most artists would get too comfortable in. Wave[s] may also be a bridge to Mick’s upcoming album The Healing Component. As Mick has established himself as capable of crafting a cohesive project, he now shows us his willingness to let things go in search of building of something greater.
Most importantly, Mick hasn’t sacrificed any bit of skill when it comes to his rap ability. His style is still Easter egg like in the sense that you will still be picking up new gems on every listen. Wave[s] isn’t The Water[s], but it doesn’t try to be. It sounds more like a stepping stone for the most important project of Mick Jenkins’ career thus far, that should be clear.