The Circus is Mick Jenkins’ most accessible project since Wave[s]
When a new Mick Jenkins project drops, it’s always expected to be an incredibly dense thematic experience with thoughtful lyricism and wavy beats—most appropriate for a smoking session. The Circus, the newest EP from the Chicago rapper is nothing if not complex, but its short length makes it entirely more digestible and engaging.
While his 2018 album, Pieces of a Man, was solid, it simply hasn’t stood the test of time and has been all but forgotten by anyone outside of his core fan base. At seven songs and under 20 minutes, The Circus takes everything he did so well on his previous projects and compresses it into a brisk EP that highlights Jenkins’ strong rapping and the best instrumentals he’s rapped on since his Wave[s] EP.
The Circus begins with “Same Ol,” with Jenkins rapping about walking into a room where he’s virtually unknown but maintains his confidence. The beat is tight and aggressive, featuring a single synth cord to drive the track home. It’s simple, yet appealing and fits Jenkins’ flows nicely.
The quality of that track is representative of how good the other six songs are as well. Highlights like “The Light” and “Different Scales” are quintessential Mick Jenkins tracks and encapsulate what made Jenkins a highly touted MC to begin with.
The Circus isn’t a reinvention or an innovation in rap music. It’s a step back from Mick Jenkins that allows him to shine his brightest on a tight EP that has barely any cracks in it.
Trial Track: The Light (feat. Earth Gang)