Mick Jenkins, 'P's & Q's'

May 26, 2015
Originally published on May 26, 2015 7:03 pm

How is it possible to swim against the current of chaos in life and still remain calm? Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins shows us how it's done in his conceptual new clip for "P's & Q's." Jenkins has a thing for hydration; he encourages listeners to "drink more water," writes songs that refer to the rain, and continues the aquatic theme he established on his critically acclaimed EP The Water[s] in the first video from his follow-up, Wave[s].

The video depicts Jenkins as the calm at the center of a storm. As he strolls in slow motion through a crowd of people going wild, he's unfazed and focused on his destination. Director Nathan Smith explains the concept:

For the "P's & Q's" video, we wanted to shoot something with a constant flow of motion to complement Mick's unending verse. I created the idea of Mick walking through a scene of complete chaos, yet being unaffected by everything. To create that effect, I had Mick walk backwards from left to right through the entire scene as people pelted him with various items. That way, once we reversed the footage, Mick would look like the only person moving forward and everything would lift off of his body, leaving the chaos behind. Everything in the shot — the fire, water, even the train — was in-camera. We did no VFX whatsoever, and the actual shot only took 15 seconds to film at 240 frames per second, or 10 times slower than real-time. At the end of the video, the water bottle that floats into Mick's hand symbolizes that his words and lyrics hold the truth amongst all the other nonsense people are exposed to.

The song is the latest collaboration between Jenkins and Montreal's Kaytranada, who gave us last year's aforementioned "Rain." In "P's & Q's," Jenkins' breathless alliterative verse is accompanied by a simple guitar loop, a rumbling bassline and a nod-inducing kick-snare combo. Once again, Kaytranada shows us he's more than just the dance-music producer du jour, while Jenkins proves he's a wordsmith on par with any of today's elite rhymers.

Wave[s] will be released on Free Nation/Cinematic Music Group this summer.

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