Mac Miller, Mick Jenkins impress with new albums

Mac+Miller%2C+Mick+Jenkins+impress+with+new+albums

Justin Cait

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Over the span of a week, a Mick and a Mac released noticeably unique projects within the hip-hop community.

On Sep. 16 rapper Mac Miller dropped a jazzy album in “The Divine Feminine” for long-awaiting fans. No less than a week later, on Sep. 23 rapper Mick Jenkins surprised listeners with a gifted album of his own titled “The Healing Component.”

Both albums contain unorthodox styles of hip-hop with an unusual underlying theme: love.

Almost five and a half years since the once “frat rapper” started the party with hits like “Donald Trump” and “Knock Knock,” now 24-year-old Mac Miller is sharing a new side of himself in “The Divine Feminine.”

After a failed relationship, Miller’s attempt at capturing the nurturing aura of women and applying it in the real world is seen as the main topic of importance in this project, starting with the opening track “Congratulations” and on throughout the entire album.

A collection of hip-hop infused jazz beats and calm classical tunes gives the listener a pleasant backdrop to Miller’s words of importance, which are plentiful on this project.

The Pittsburgh native has come a long way since the “Nikes On My Feet” days.

Songs like “Dang!,” “Stay,” and “Planet God Damn” have bars that give off “old Mac” vibes, while subsequently showcasing the growth and progression as a true artist through enhanced lyrics, musical instrumentals and fresh features.

Although he is a proven lyricist, Miller is not afraid to use his controversial singing voice to convey genuine emotion to listeners.

While tracks like “Skin,”“Soulmate” and “My Favorite Part” have musical substance through incredible production and moments of lyrical awe, Miller’s vocals — which have been criticized in the past as monotonal — seem to drag songs along.

While the intent of the little improved vocal range shows true feeling and the development of a young artist it may take away from the project’s aesthetic.

Nonetheless, Miller’s fourth studio album is seen as an overall success with the album’s final track “God Is Fair, Sexy Nasty,” featuring consensus rap king Kendrick Lamar, taking the cake as the project’s most striking track.

Mac Miller and Kendrick Lamar first collaborated on Miller’s 2012 “Macadelic” mixtape and impressed on their first joint song in four years.

While most rappers would go as far as change their style to get a feature from Lamar, Miller was unphased by the west coast rapper’s influence. The final product truly resulted in a song made by Mac Miller featuring the vocals of Kendrick Lamar.

“The Divine Feminine” displayed Mac Miller’s ability to collaborate with other distinct artists like Ariana Grande, Cee-Lo Green and Anderson .Paak and proved to listeners that he could come through with yet another lyrically gripping project. While it might not be his absolute best work, this album is his most meaningful one yet.

Fast forward a week to the release of The Healing Component, up and coming rapper Mick Jenkins’ first studio album.

“The Healing Component” is a truly unbelieveable album that took the same concept of love and bent it towards the perspective of loving yourself before anything else then extending that to others.

In this natural project, Jenkins encourages listeners to take a step back and reassess our own realities. Once “woke” or self-aware, he uses his platform to rid listeners of ego and ground them to the same bone and flesh-humans we all are.

Jenkins starts the conversation with a theme throughout the album; the observation that coming to terms with yourself is difficult but important in overall growth as a person. Before you can spread love unto others, you must be able to love yourself.

The project is comprised of a mix of wavy hip-hop beats with melodic samples and some pretty experimental production.

The instrumentals suit the album’s concept fittingly as it combines the old traditional methods of hip-hop with newer, less accepted variations of hip-hop, but at the end of the day it works.

A few of the better songs on the 15-track project have smooth vocals and jaw-dropping lyrics including, “The Healing Component”, “Spread Love,” “Plugged,” “Daniel’s Bloom” and “Angles” featuring fellow Chicago rapper Noname.

Throughout the album, Jenkins investigates what he sees in the world around him and challenges listeners to break the norm society assigns us. He models the importance of following your own path.

He does all of this in a heavily poetic manner, similar to his Chicago counterparts — Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa, Noname and Saba, to name a few.

The combination of incredibly articulate words with wavy sound makes for a truly special mainstream debut for the brilliant lyricist Mick Jenkins.

While both artists have different perspectives on one similar topic, both albums encourage listeners to step out of his or her comfort zones in attempts at gaining further experience, knowledge and sense of self.

All in all, incredible stuff from Mac Miller and Mick Jenkins.