Mick Jenkins – “What Am I To Do”

Mick Jenkins is apparently not fucking around. The Chicago rapper took no prisoners on “Bruce Banner,” his opening bow leading up to the release of sophomore album Pieces Of A Man this fall. “I’m not a rapper, I’m a writer,” he began. “There’s a couple chefs in this game, and a whole lot of biters.” From there he skipped past everyone on Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” hit list (and all the big names that have arisen since then) and put himself on Kung Fu Kenny’s level. The bars that followed, if not eye-poppingly inventive on a Kendrick level, definitely put the world on notice.

“What Am I To Do,” Jenkins’ first new track since then, takes a different tack, swapping out the last song’s snarling boom-bap for regally dreamy funk rap produced by longtime collaborator Kaytranada. It’s a bit like a peak aughts Kanye production (think “Through The Wire”), but Jenkins interrogates it with much more discipline and precision rather than volatile Yeezy corniness. One sample excerpt: “My triple beam on the biggest schemes/ I’m on these waves, don’t expect a handclap ’cause you from upstream/ I’m expecting sand traps, I be in the green/ If we talkin’ greenbacks, I’m back in the black/ They had the formula since Similac/ Delicate flows under heavy metal bars, but they still intact.”

What are you to do? Listen below.

Pieces Of A Man is out this fall on Cinematic.