Death of the Critic

The Healing Component - Review

Written by: Tom Blaich


Love is a powerful force. Tackling it is a difficult proposition, but that does not stop Mick Jenkins from trying to talk about what makes love, how we love, and why we should love in his debut album
The Healing Component. For a first venture, it is an ambitious one, as he delivers a high concept album on how love has the ability to drastically effect a life. To him, love is The Healing Component, and through an application of loving each other, and a fair amount marijuana, he thinks we can all become better people. He builds this idea through conversations broken up and peppered throughout the album in which we learn more about his idea of love and his experiences with it as a young woman interviews him. “Have you ever loved someone differently?” she asks, calling up vivid memories from him, and from the listener as they work their way through what love really is.

Heavily reminiscent of Kendrick Lamar’s
To Pimp a Butterfly, with strong jazz influences, identifiable theme, and strange audio glitches present throughout the album that add a sense of mystery to the music. It gives a sense of nebulous wonder to the music that would not have been served well by a more traditional rap beat. The lyrics need room to breathe, and the beat draws you in. By invoking the comparison to Lamar, Jenkins attempts to lend his album some sense of credibility. We associate the sound together, and his album becomes more serious by extension.

Mellow, smooth, and thoughtful, the album does not feel like a debut. IT’s a risky, high-concept set that could easily fall flat if the audience does not buy into his premise. But his strangely hopeful, positive tone in the face of sadness and horror is poignant. He is speaking out, asking us to try and love one another. “Spread love, try to combat the sadness.” It’s daring, and it lures you in like a siren. The beating heart covering the album is as raw and emotional as the music. He has peeled back his skin, given us a glimpse into who he really is, and he asks the same of us.

This style of strange “blues/rap” fusion isn’t used very often, and I am always a fan when I hear it. The sounds blend together so perfectly, with the soft tune helping to smooth the edges of the raw, emotional lyrics. After I finished listening to it the first time, I just wanted to go back and listen to it again. It made me pick up
To Pimp a Butterfly for the first time in a while. It is a genuine side of rap that we don’t get to see very often. Positive and honest lyrics are a rarity.

Passionate. Hard. Soulful. Introspective. An admirable first time effort from a young artist. The distorted vocals and sound may bother some, and overuse of spoken interjection woven in can drag the piece own upon repeated listens, but regardless I found myself listening to it over and over. The meaning may hit you in the face a little bit, but has there been a more worthy meaning to focus on? One of the best soul-rap albums of the year so far.


Editor's Choice

1. The Healing Component
2. Spread Love
3. Daniel's Bloom
4. Strange Love
5. This Type Love? (Interlude)
6. Drowning (Feat. BADBADNOTGOOD)
7. As Seen in Bethsaida (Feat. theMIND)
8. Communicate (Feat. Ravyn Lenae)
9. Plugged
10. 1000 Xans (Feat. theMIND)
11. Prosperity (Feat. theMIND)
12. Fall Through
13. Love, Robert Horry (Feat. jSTOCK)
14. Angles (Feat. Noname & Xavier Omar)
15. Fucked Up Outro (Feat. Michael Anthony)

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Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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