Mick Jenkins – 'The Circus' album review

Finally back on the album review grind. I will make sure to get these out on a consistent basis throughout 2020 instead of taking a two-month break at the end of the year. We will make sure to keep you up to date on as many albums as possible and you have a request for an album that you want us to review, please leave a comment on this post or on any of our social media platforms.

Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins gets the distinction of being The Rich Report’s first artist to get an album review in 2020. I, first, heard of Jenkins last year with a single he did with fellow rapper Zac Flewids called “Steps”. Thus, sparked my interest in listening to Jenkins down the line.

The first single I listened to in 2020 was the promotional for this album called “Carefree”. A jazz-inspired single that contains the narrative of a realistic scenario of African Americans being singled out by police even when they are just participating in some leisure activities. Jenkins just wants to enjoy life without having to deal with the paranoia that comes with common racial profiling of black Americans by police.

The kickoff to The Circus is a subtle banger that sees Jenkins talking about his success without having to change his image, sellout or lose his true self in the near-decade that has been active in the music business.

“The Light” is my favorite track on this project. We have a very sweet and slick neo-soul instrumental with a great feature from rising hip-hip group EARTHGANG. Look out for EARTHGNAG y’all. Olu can sing very well and brings a certain charisma to his rap flow that is intoxicating to listen to a la “UP” and “Top Down” from their debut record Mirrorland from last year. The track almost feels like the group’s song instead of Jenkins’.

My least favorite track on this record is “Flaunt”. A very repetitive track and a pretty basic trap instrumentals that does not do much in the grand scheme of this very short project. Not to say it’s a terrible song but I just expect more from Jenkins on an album that is only 19 minutes in length.

“The Fit” and “I’m Convinced” do just about the same thing but are a little better in flow and instrumental. Jenkins discusses people that flex their clothing on the daily and think they are something special just because they have some expensive clothes.

“Different Scales” is a respectable closer to this album. The psychedelic aura of the instrumental mixed with some kick drums provides a solid backing to a track that talks about trying to get rid of all the BS that comes with life and trying to navigate through the fake and the real.

The Circus is nothing remarkable in the grand scheme of rap but it is a solid start to the year for the genre and I love the jazz and soul influences that Jenkins draws for this project. This album’s weakest aspects do lie within the very short length of the project and I think Jenkins could have done a little more when there really shouldn’t be room for filler.

Richest Tracks: “Same Ol”, “Carefree”, “The Light”. “Different Scales”

Worst Track: “Flaunt”

Rating: 7/10

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