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Holy Sh*t You Need To Hear This: Mick Jenkins' “The Artful Dodger"

The Chicago emcee delivers the only song you're going to want to listen to for the rest of the day.

It's been a little over a week since the launch of our "Holy Shit You Need to Hear This" series and with both Yoh and Lucas finding some true "holy shit" gems in the past few days competition around the office is fierce.

I needed to find another song worthy of the title, I've been running through tracks for days, but the entire point of this series is not to reach. Luckily, in the nick of time, Top Prospect alum Mick Jenkins returned to set the rap web ablaze with a brand new record.



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"The Artful Dodger" unfolds like a bizarre, unsettling dream. Pressing play ushers in some ominous, pulsating synths that are soon met with the start of Mick's verse. With a slight echo effect on the vocals, Mick sounds almost like the faraway narrator of this dream as the listener spirals into the darkness of a different world. Soon after, a steady knock and a haunting, lo-fi sample loop joins the fray and, together with the steady churning of raps, produces a near-hynotic effect. 

For those unfamiliar with Jenkins, the Chicago native is one of the most promising up-and-coming lyricists in hip-hop, any prior listening experience with his past releases makes that clear. He's got a penchant for wordplay, an appreciation for the profound and a commanding voice that forces the listener to stay in tune. Jenkins can execute the laid-back, blunt-fueled smoker's anthems with ease, but when he pivots to intensify the aggression, whether here or on past cuts like "Alchemy," his presence becomes even more intensified.

As much as Mick shines, enough can't be said for the production on this record. Kaytranada in particular is setting up for a monstrous 2016 campaign, whether riding shotgun with Mick here or on premiere solo efforts such as the recently-released "Bus Ride."  The Canadian producer, along with frequent Jenkins collaborators THEMpeople, takes a BadBadNotGood sample and creates magic, crafting an engulfing cinematic backdrop.

If I wasn't already saying "holy shit" throughout the first two thirds of the record, the last minute devolves into a clattering, brain-numbing breakdown that takes things to a new level entirely. Holy shit, you need to hear this.

By Brendan Varan, Music Editor of DJBooth. Follow him on Twitter. Image via Instagram.



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