Fresh off releasing his debut album, “The Healing Component,” Mick Jenkins brought down The Crocodile in a show for the ages on Thursday Sept. 29.
The 25-year-old Chicago rapper started off his “Quest for Love” tour by selling out his show in Seattle. As a rising star who has just put his foot in the door of the rap scene, he certainly made a statement.
The show was hosted by Red Bull as a part of their “Sound Select” series. The shows they have sponsored in Seattle are on sale for just three dollars as long as you RSVP and pick up the tickets at the venue that night. The Crocodile has a 400 person capacity, but over 1,300 people RSVP’d online. This meant that those that got there too late were out of luck, with the line wrapping around the venue.
This showed strides Jenkins has made since his show at The Crocodile this time last year, when the venue was about two-thirds full. It was a well deserved turnout as he showed improvements in his stage performance as well.
The crowd was up and moving around after his opener for tour, St. Louis rapper Smino, put on a rowdy show. Armed with three backup singers and a live drummer (new additions to his show) Jenkins walked onto the stage and immediately went into one of his more popular songs, “Jazz” off of his standout mixtape “The Water[s].” He proceeded to jump into songs from “The Healing Component,” some of which he was performing for the first time.
A big part of Jenkins’ lyricism involves metaphors about positive messages. He thinks that his rap can help change the way people think and make a difference. “The Water[s]” uses water as a metaphor for life’s truths. A phrase that he has become known for is “drink more water,” which he screams to the crowd throughout the show, pointing the microphone outward and letting his fans shout the last word back to him. The concept of “The Healing Component” is love.
The album is filled with references to loving one another and loving yourself. It’s messages like these in his music that have helped him gain so much attention. In an era of rap where so many lyrics are focused on partying and unimportant themes, Jenkins is changing the landscape. Growing up in the southside of Chicago, he has seen what can happen when humans are at their worst and it has inspired him.
As soon as you see him perform a song, it’s easy to tell that he is going to be a star. Standing six feet and five inches tall, he captures your attention when he is on stage. He is revered for his rapping abilities which he showcases by not using any pre- recorded backing vocals—a rarity for a lot of rappers today.
Throw all of this together in a live performance and it feels more like he is preaching to you rather than rapping. Singing messages about spreading love and always seeking out more truth rubs off on you after bearing witness to his performance. It’s a simple message, but with Mick Jenkins it has always been about the way he presents these messages. It’s easy to ask him to say a little more in his music, but the fact that he is even putting these thoughts into the world for people to absorb is what is important.
Clocking in at about just over an hour, he rattled off songs from all three of his major projects, playing both fan favorites and about half off his new album. A highlight was when he performed the song Martyrs that put him on the map, taking a break and letting the crowd rap the first verse to him.
It was a fantastic show and the rest of the stops on his tour have something to look forward to. Mick Jenkins has proved he is on his way to the top of the game. Next time he stops through Seattle, he is going to need a bigger venue to spread the love.
Willy may be reached at