Mick Jenkins
Elephant In The Room


4.1
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
January 2nd, 2022 | 13 replies


Release Date: 10/29/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: let me talk to 'em

Mick Jenkins has always rapped like he's stranded in a hall of mirrors, shadowboxing with versions of himself we don't or cannot know. Whether it's a critically acclaimed art-rap concept album about water or an attempt to bridge his grimy authenticity to pop accessibility, Jenkins raps like he has something to prove. Elephant In The Room is the sound of someone sick of dancing around issues; from the short runtime to the off-kilter, jazzy loops, to the way every bar feels like something Jenkins is unloading from the deepest parts of his chest even as his familiar voice rarely raises above a calculated rumble.

If The Water[s] rightly became the new Chicago scene's golden achievement (before CARE FOR ME came along, but I digress) by finding a sound as warped, delicately crushing and indefinable as its inspiration, you could almost say Elephant In The Room is its earthen component. The beats on here are tough but contain multitudes, rich veins of soil with plenty to discover underneath the surface. Songs seem to crumble and melt away over rugged percussion, like the sound of Jenkins tapping away the cigarettes he's constantly mentioning. There's enough material here to satisfy hypebeasts who came to hear the man spit - "Contacts", "Truffles" - but Elephant In The Room is something special when it slows down and stares right into the abyss Jenkins has eyeing, circling like a wary fighter but not outright confronting. The surreal, largely sung "Scottie Pippen" and "Is, This Cigarettes" are some of the rapper's finest work to date: alternately soothing or unsettling meditations on how the things we love can quickly kill us, and there are systems in place dating back centuries designed to ensure that cycle stays unbroken.

In all honestly I think Elephant In The Room might be Mick Jenkins' finest project. There's no quirky concept to grab onto, none of the hype that is afforded a younger artist making their first big swing, but the maturity and refinement on display is its own kind of theme. This is a fantastically conceived and realised album, not a second overlong or note out of place. Think of this as a series of chronicles of the rapper facing down something in the mirror he'd rather not confront: institutionalised racism, failed romance, the spectre of a departed father in one of his finest ever songs, or just too many goddamn cigarettes. It's not the kind of album that wastes time on flashy features and big beats to demand your attention, but if you come to it anyway, you might find more to Elephant In The Room than you would have expected.



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user ratings (28)
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2022


46089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

this is not v good but album deserved a thread. also, proved to myself I can still formulate a sentence with goddamn covid. I'll take it



https://themickjenkins.bandcamp.com/album/elephant-in-the-room

Digging: Broken Social Scene - Old Dead Young (B-Sides & Rarities)

Conmaniac
January 2nd 2022


26812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yooooo thank you for reviewing this a o t y worthy album

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2022


46089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

you know it. shit rips, deserved more attention round here

rufinthefury
January 2nd 2022


3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mick finally remembered how to make a good album.

Digging: Silkie - Panorama

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2022


46089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

I honestly never heard Pieces of a Man but the Healing album was... conspicuously not good yeah

BlushfulHippocrene
Staff Reviewer
January 3rd 2022


3887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ah God, I'm gonna have to pay a lot more attention to this now. Great write-up.

Sharenge
January 3rd 2022


1987 Comments


is it just me or does he got a monkey on his back

Digging: Helmet - Meantime

Conmaniac
January 3rd 2022


26812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The Waters and this album are easily his best. Pieces… had some really good songs but was not a great overall project. Everything here flows so so well and like you hit on, lyrically he’s not shying away

rufinthefury
January 3rd 2022


3462 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pieces was a fine album, it was The Circus that made me think he dropped off entirely

Conmaniac
January 3rd 2022


26812 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Dude but Flaunt off that EP went off ngl. Only one i listen to still

madrigal30
January 4th 2022


1363 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

how the fuck did this album slip under my radar? awesome.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
January 4th 2022


46089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.1

glad you found it, and enjoyed it, presumably in that order!

Foxteeth
January 7th 2022


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is why I love this site. Never heard of this guy and am in love. Thanks for sharing.



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