Gig Review: Mick Jenkins | Max Watt's | Melbourne | 27.01.17

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Whilst the new age of today’s popular hip-hop culture is all about making strip club anthems for Magic City, Mick Jenkins’ conscious and intelligent flows are refreshing.

With Young Thug ruled out of this year’s Laneway lineup, he’s the last standing international hip-hop act on the bill. Along with his appearances at the festival, he made some time to play a sideshow at Melbourne’s Max Watts. After catching both his sideshow and his Laneway set, it was obvious that his sideshow was where his most dedicated fans were at.

Before Mick Jenkins hit the stage, many members in the crowd were already yelling out ‘drink more water’. Standing next to me was a group of approximately 12 guys who all came to the show together, each of them were die-hard fans. As soon as he hit the stage, they went crazy. 

Not only did Mick Jenkins repeat his ‘drink more water’ phrase every couple of songs (receiving a roar from the crowd each time), the crowd did it throughout the whole night. I mean, I didn’t have an issue with it, until people were yelling it out when he had a sip of water each time (I’m not even kidding, every time he had water). The ‘drink more water’ phrase is supposed to be metaphorical (as in drinking the truth, seeking enlightenment, etc.), it’s not because he’s concerned for your physical thirst. Making a joke of it takes away from it’s intended meaning. 

A set highlight was when he performed ‘Martyrs’ and weaved in a mix of NWA’s ‘Fuck tha Police’. I thought this was particularly powerful considering both explore strong political and cultural themes (and inequalities). Despite the time difference between the songs being made, their connection is real and relevant.

Before launching into ‘P’s & Q’s’, he gave a shout out to all the ‘real hip hop fans’. 

He saved the most intense part of the set until last when he performed ‘Social Network (GANG)’. During the last track, the crowd gave it everything; jumping like crazy, breaking into a sweat and moshing their hearts out.

From Chicago’s South Side to now playing shows Australia, he's a long way from home. I can’t wait to see Mick Jenkins spread his words of positivity through his art for many years to come.

Written by Amy Smolcic
Photos by Kristy Smolcic