With The Waters, Mick Jenkins taught us that water was the healing component, one that aids in our growth. With his debut album, he’s teaching us about a new healing component, while still bringing in those same themes from previous projects. Under the same name, The Healing Component utilizes biblical allusions, lyricism, and metaphors to teach the world the importance of love. The Chicago emcee sets this album up in a way that informs listeners of what the healing component is, what we should do to help perpetuate it, and the different types of love. Upon first listen of the album, I wasn’t really impressed with what I heard. However, after a few more listens, I have managed to really hone in on the project and appreciate for what it’s worth.
Starting off the album is the title track, “The Healing Component” which Mick Jenkins states is love. From his previous project, The Waters, we know that he doesn’t use THC as the reference to the ingredient found in marijuana, but as an acronym that stands for the healing component. The song begins with a conversation between Jenkins and a female companion as he questions her knowledge of the healing component. The song goes on to answer her question, as well as, inform the listeners who are also unaware. Jenkins’ affirms his faith in God and thanks him for the love that he bestowed on us. The beat switches from a fast-paced, distorted beat to a slow tempo, as he uses a marijuana reference to establish a formula for truth and love. He states that “Free love is THC and all this tree get wrapped in truth.” Essentially, he is establishing love as the best drug and even if it were utilized more, humanity would be able to discover so many truths in life. He ends the song with an outro stating that love is more than just “the pretty parts.” He acknowledges the different types of love like self-love and love of community, which are just as important, if not, more than romantic love. “Spread love” is his call to action for everyone to spread love in any capacity that they can. In verse 1, he rhymes, “See, I done told you this but gotta show you this / You know actions do a little more.” He understands that proclaiming love doesn’t have the same impact as actually carrying it out. He posits love as “the soothe in your water, it’s the truth in your joint.” Once again, he continues this triad of truth, water, and love, which seem to be the main components in life that can help repair the world.
Skipping the third and fourth track, “This Type of Love?” introduces the conversation from the start of the album. In what sounds somewhat like an interview, she asks him if he believes that there are different ways to love someone to which he initially replies no. He seems to have the same level of love for everyone, whether it be a friend or significant other. However, as the conversation progresses, he changes his answer as he realizes that there was a different intensity within his last relationship than he’d ever felt before. However, this conversation seems to be contradictory to the rest of his album, as each song establishes different types of love outside of the romantic. The various forms of love implicit within the album showcase just how many ways people can love and what they can love.
TYPES OF LOVE
Love in Prayer
Track 3, “Daniel’s Bloom”, is difficult to decipher, but becomes clearer with some background information from the rapper. The idea came from an argument he had with a friend, which ended with Mick stating that he would pray for him. In order to aid in his friend’s, Daniel, growth, Jenkins finds it appropriate to pray for him. It’s important to note that even after their disagreement, he harbors no ill feelings and only wishes the best for him. He even asks for the same in return, stating, “Pray for me / Just holla at me, I could pray for you / Try to make a play for you / Won’t you show me . . . love?” The question at the end seems to imply some sense of hesitancy or lack of assurance on whether his friend will return the gesture of love. He ends the chorus with “Love is what flowers and finish blooms beget / Show me your plot and I’ll do the dirt till my wounds submit.” Within these lines, he asserts that love leads to growth and he’ll do the work to help nourish his friend’s foundation through prayer.
Contradictions of Love
“Strange Love” continues the conversation as he assures the interviewer that there is only one healing component. He recognizes that Jesus’ purpose was to teach us what love was, yet we’ve taken love and flipped it on its head. He raps, “We claim that we love our sisters / That’s some strange love, Dr. Strangelove / We claim that we love ourselves.” He seems to be commentating on the degradation that black women face by the hands of black men. However, in the same breadth, black men will proclaim their love for us, but don’t show it through words or actions. The second assertion seems to point the black on black crime within our communities. Black brothers are killing each other, yet there the community is constantly preaching about black power and the sacredness of black lives. In verse 2, he goes onto to talk about the destruction of our bodies through drugs and how children, who are supposed to learn from their fathers, are losing them and are left without proper role models. He urges that we shouldn’t let love fade, asking for a love of the community.
Love in Truth
“Drowning” featuring BADBADNOTGOOD is reminiscent of a blues song or an old spiritual as Mick Jenkins croons about not being able to breathe. The water motif is implied once again and he describes wading out into the ocean and letting it consume him. The beat starts off very slow and melancholy but picks up towards the song’s climax. The intro of the song writes “We gon’ need some drugs for the situation / Shout out to my plug, its a lituation / Won’t win it through litigation / All we ask is ventilation.” This song seems to point to the atrocities that have been plaguing the black community, specifically police brutality. It is confirmed with the line, “I can’t breathe with this muhfuckin’ flag round my neck.” It seems that he is searching for the answers and the truth through the water. This seems like an allusion to slaves wading in the water to avoid slave catchers on the way towards freedom. The song’s reference also signals that not much has changed through history and that there is still a fight everyday for the safety of black lives. Mick Jenkins could be suggesting that there is love in truth. He asks when the real hold you down aren’t you supposed to drown and perhaps drowning in the truth is a much healthier alternative than living a lie.
Love of God
“As Seen in Bethsaida” featuring TheMIND is actually a biblical reference to the city of Bethsaida, which was the place where Jesus healed a blind man and conjured the fast feeding of the Multitude. Jenkins seems to take the perspective of a blind man with the line “My eyes have never seen the sun / Guided by the light look how far we’ve come.” The sun could be a reference to God and his light, or love, has been guiding him throughout his life. He states that he’s never seen God, but wants to follow in his footsteps. This song seems to talk about his love for God and all that he does, including loving someone so much that he restored his eyesight. He is firmly establishing his belief in God and miracles with this song.
“Communicate” featuring Ravyn Lanae deals with the tribulations of relationships and love. The song begins with him venting to a friend about his girlfriend and her lack of understanding about the stress he is under. This song has pop influences and seems more like a dance track than anything, contradicting the sour mood that he is in. He and Ravyn seem to be going back and forth as she acknowledges that he knows that his leaving makes her mad. There is a lack of communication on both ends that is causing a strain in the relationship, one that is causing him to become distant and her to be emotional. The song seems to denote that loving someone takes hard work and there are times where your significant other may get on your nerves, but you have to fight for them.
Giver of Love
“Plugged” seems to be a drug reference shrouded in his message of supplying love and truth. Most of the time, the “plug” is known as the person you go to when for marijuana. Jenkins’ continuously recites that “I think I might have what you, what you want . . . I think I might have what you, what you need.” He positions himself as a person who can give the world the one thing that they crave most, which is love. Making love a drug shows just how powerful it is.
Love for drugs / materialism
“1000 Xans” featuring TheMIND picks up the tempo of the album with these fast paced beat, in which Mick professes his love for drugs. He attributes his addiction to all of the stress that he has been dealing with, which could be personal or career. He recognizes the effects that these drugs have on his system as Xans make him sleepy and weed gets him high. Although he knows the consequences, he can’t seem to stop. “Prosperity” featuring TheMIND hones in on his love for flashiness and wealth. TheMIND starts the song off by speaking about his shopping habits, meaningless sex, and peer pressure. Mick Jenkins’s chorus details all the things he hopes to buy which include jewelry and cars. His verses seem to contradict the chorus as he preaches against materialism and urges people to love more. This hypocrisy displays that he is at war with himself, not knowing whether he wants to be a saint or a sinner. Tracks 9 and 10 seem to reveal a darker side of love, one that isn’t necessarily healthy or beneficial for an individual but provides satisfaction.
The Other Love
One of the most complicated songs on the album is Track 13, “Love, Robert Horry” featuring JStock. Robert Horry was a professional basketball player, but the song’s aim isn’t to pay homage to him. In fact, he is only talked about in the hook in reference to his basketball talent. The song starts with the repetition of “love is free” and Mick Jenkins seems to rap about where he was and where he is today. On the other hand, JStock raps about all that God has done for him, from giving him a mom to his budding rap career. The song seems to be about the love of life and blessings that one is given.
“Fall Through” sounds almost gospel like with the haunting female vocals in the background as Mick seems to be seeking repentance for his ways. In the hook he states, “Don’t you feel the soul? / That’s the truest well / Of all the things you know, do you know yourself?” This song deals with self love, reflection, and coming face to face with your flaws. He mentions that he’s reaching for the light, but he hesitates, which hints that although he wants to be good, he’s still a sinner. The fall seems to have gotten so bad that he has to “fall on knees” because he is lost. Towards the end of the song, the beat slows down and switches the topic to the origin of black people. He uses lines that reference Africa, stating that “We descendants of the illest souls / Children of the Indigo.” He notes that black people have been told who they are for so long and have been made to feel inferior. Mick Jenkins seems to be urging for a self-reflecting within the black community that will restore a sense of identity and love. Essentially, we are all lost until we know who we are and where we come from.
“Angles” featuring Xavier Omar and Noname, is all about perspective and how one views their life. Xavier Omar posits a question at the beginning of the song of what one sees when they look at themselves. Mick Jenkins takes the position that self-love is of most importance and that one has to really know themselves in order to grow. He gives his own personal experience with loving himself, growing, and knowing who he is as an individual. Noname comes in on the second and asserts happiness through rapping and her love for God. The production for this song is really airy and soft and the violin at that end of the song really gives the listener as serene calm. It’s a good transition towards the end of the album.
“Fucked Up Outro” rounds out the album as Mick explains to listeners all that he has learned about himself through self-love and his faith in God. He acknowledges his intelligence, his flaws, and his status as an underrated artist. He states that “The underrated and often neglected / Are often expected to deal with it.” Although Mick Jenkins knows he isn’t the most popular rapper, he refuses to accept this notion and is determined to erase this label. He is planning on using his platform to inform audiences about the truths in life. As the song ends, he acknowledges that people are ignorant and that through his faith in God, he plans on broadcasting a message of love and spreading it all around.
Through The Healing Component, Mick Jenkins seems to be setting himself up as prophet. He plans on using his music platform to go way past petty raps beefs and being the number one rapper on top. For awhile now, Mick Jenkins has been setting himself up to be someone who teaches and preaches, rather than just raps. He truly does believe that love will heal all, even going so far as to put a heart on his album cover. He really pushes the point in your face as he discusses love throughout the album and so many ways it can hurt and help people. This album just acts as his testimony for others to follow, if they choose too.
I like the overall message that he implies, but I couldn’t really connect with the album. The production didn’t really jump out at me since most of it is very slow paced and dreary. There was certain wow factor missing from this album that I usually get from his previous projects. However, I do like the route that Mick Jenkins is going and it seems that he and his other peers, like Chance the Rapper, are really determined to help make the world a better place in any way that they can. The Healing Component can be found on Tidal, iTunes, and other streaming sites.