Excellent young rappers are a dime a dozen in Chicago — Saba Pivot, Chance the Rapper, Chief Keef, Vic Mensa, No Game Gypsy. It’s an endless competition, really, that leaves little breathing room for the newcomers. But twenty-something rapper Mick Jenkins, a product of Chicago’s recent creative renaissance and poetry scene, has managed to hoist himself above the local buzz. His debut mixtape, 2013’s Trees and Truth, left him penning free verse; it was loose, indistinct and poetically oblique. Boasting with acid-jazz production and biblical skits of Adam and Eve made the mixtape a favorite amongst local hip-hop savants.
However, it wasn't until his recent The Water[s] that set him apart from Chicago’s saturated hip-hop scene. Where his first mixtape was jazzy in a general-sense, lazy guitar noodles and airy chords wash the new album with watercolor blues that sand out the rough edges of the heavy material. And it’s all in the voice. Mick Jenkin’s delivers in an introspective masculine voice that Chicago hasn't seen in a while. Chance, the Rapper is the manic schizophrenic, Chief Keef is the to-the-streets loose cannon while Vic Mensa is the carefree party-boy. Mick Jenkins is serious, and his shows are too. With Kirk Knight, Saba Pivot, No Name Gypsy. $12, 8:30pm, Alamo City Music Hall, 1305 E. Houston —Alejandra Ramirez