So what do you do when your calling enters the room and refuses to leave until it is manifested? This has been an existential tug of war Mick Jenkins has carried on his back since DatPiff and Trees and Truths. Just when you thought he couldn’t surpass “Canada Dry”, “Ps & Q’s”, and “Scottie Pippen,” here comes a contender for the coveted Magnum Opus status as per every artist catalogue.
To say The Patience was worth the wait is an understatement and equally I would be remiss to not complain about how short it is, and how that grinds my gears regarding the ever going war between song length and stream revenue. Such is life, and just like how we figured out the value in the supply chain of a CD, we will do so with streams.
Here’s a frustration: when Mick spoke about the process behind putting this album together, while blessing fans with heated exclusives via his ‘Smoke Break’ interactive fan podcast live via YouTube, the age-old war between the artist and the dreaded contract that, for argument’s sake, bears ownership of the most converted piece of gold in the digital market: Intellectual Property owing to the joint venture between Cinematic Music Group and his former representation Free Nation.
Mick, as a matter-of-factly, expressed his gripe with his former label co-partner, a home he once shared with Joey Badass, who would have been a perfect feature; personally, I need a rematch of “Jerome” from The Water[s] mixtape, I couldn’t decide but after Mick gave us “Martyrs”? I was on his side.
I digress; today, we need to unpack the modern history that features the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Benny The Butcher, J.I.D. and Vic Mensa, and what that means in the current climate of Hip-Hop experiencing a decline, as famously debunked in a recent episode of renowned culture economy podcast Trapital. It is ironic as we celebrate 50 years of Hip-Hop with leading ladies like Queen Latifah featuring in Ladies First: A Story of Women In Hip-Hop for Netflix.
One of the most challenging things for any creative to be is patience. There’s something to be said about the current stream of consciousness where Mick’s South African friend in pen, Maglera Doe Boy, utilises his album Diaspora to call for black stillness.
Mick calls for patience here, and with so much history to make and the first black such-and-such to such-and-such hurdle ahead of us, we are reminded to trust the process that evolution demands of us.
The heavy lifting loaded into the opener “Michelin Star”, where Mick toasts and dedicates his current and impending success to those who “forever stayed down” through his life, which, like most, is not without its fair share of tribulations. We get a sense of why we had to wait for the release in the first place, why life had to life for this piece of work to be brought to life for our ears to feast from the wise and have a good time.
The sequencing of the album, though disjointed to an extent, makes for a rollercoaster cohesive listen; there’s an urgency in Mick’s artistry, how his foray into newfound manhood, a complete agency of his artistry since his departure from former collective Free Nation, perfectly summarised in the “Show And Tell” quote “I had to show nixxas/sometimes you just outgrow nixxas“.
Alas, from how Freddie Gibbs, Benny The Butcher, J.I.D, and Vic Mensa showed their lyrical godform with Vic being subtle about his predicate evolution with quotes like “and a distribution change so major I can start a label” to the production, which evolved the fabric of Chicago nu-wav soul; Mick Jenkins has ensured The Patience will generate a plethora of wealth as an owner of his masters and hopefully publishing.
Mick Jenkins, the man, the myth, the business. A ‘5 Mics’ album as far as The Source ratings are concerned, congratulations, my good sir; the album is cinematic (mind the irony), to say the least.
Listen to The Patience below and stream it everywhere else here.
Words by Malibongwe Sicelo Cedric Dladla