5 For Friday: Mick Jenkins, A2, Knxwledge & More

Kicking off the new year with a few debut drops, we’ve seen a wave of release range from instrumentals to posthumous chops. Some artists choose to expand the longevity of their releases while others are fixed on setting the tone for 2020. This week’s 5 for Friday includes some refreshing jazzy sensations cooked up between Mick Jenkins and Black Milk, with ‘Carefree’ which comes off his newly released EP. We get straight into the swing of things and bundle together some sounds you ought to dig through, so go ahead and treat your ears to some new gems.

A2 – Renegade 

To end the decade with a slew of projects titled after hues that represent a mood or a particular vibe, A2 isn’t a novice when it comes down to making you feel audible sensations. His last album ‘All Spill’ happened to be the odd one out, functioning as a canvas coated with purple splurges, red blotches and royal blue droplets. On ‘Renegade,’ A2 revives the feel and casts an ultimatum between the hustle or love.

“Pick one, just one” is sung over soaring beams and ethereal chords, which allude to the risk he’s got to take. The low, moody production sends a spine-tingling chill like a cold gust in December and jumbles the chaotic thoughts once the score shifts into a temperate bounce. The ticking hi-hats emulate the second hand of a clock and add some much needed tension to spark some action. Being the elusive character that he is A2 shares the limelight with a slim young woman with her hair tied back, wearing a short black dress. Jordon Wi-Fi (LNIP) takes the directors seat and contrasts two realities with tour footage cutting in between candid shots of the female lead.

Mick Jenkins – Carefree

If we’re keeping it one hundred hip-hop has always placed a big deal on being real. There’s a long list of fads that have faded away like a pair of over-washed black denim. The carefree Black boy aesthetic got dropped a while ago and was suitably replaced by something more fitting. Mick Jenkins returns with ‘Carefree’ and sets pace with his newly released project, ‘The Circus’.

The ever so thoughtful wordsmith picks out a tender jazzy joint, produced by Black Milk, which lumps a smooth-running drum beat with guitar strums vibrating deep, delicate frequencies into the air. Mick Jenkins’ Black boy joy isn’t a colourful, idealistic snap inundated with flower petals, it’s an easy vibe cultivated in the good company of friends and liquor. The glossy piano keys pipe up a buoyant tune and fade away like a mirage as Jenkins’ candy-coated raps reveal a sour core on his second verse. Not one to disappoint with the visuals, Jack Begert makes a masterpiece out of still subjects posed in moving pictures. It’s almost as if you’re staring at a literal piece from the comfort of your living room.

Knxwledge – Do You

Deconstructing some of your favourite classics and re-working them into a brand new sonic is something Knxwledge has built up a reputation for. Whether he’s busy digging in crates, chopping up samples or cranking out some mind-bending beats, you can guarantee it’s going to be a magical experience. In anticipation of his forthcoming project, the LA-based producer cooks up a show-stopping instrumental entitled ‘Do You.’

Knxwledge skews together a funk-led production and submerges you into a spiralling hallucination. The grand piano keys inject a rough edge to the beat and coltishly powers through, soft, pulpy drum pattern smothered over by retro synths. Taking soulful samples and chopping them into vague soundscapes ‘Do You’ boasts an addictive groove section moulded by wonky guitar licks which will leave your mind caught up in a daze. The sonic ends on a soulful high with a stinging switch up that samples Gerald LeVert ‘Just Because I’m Wrong’ in a truly stunning fashion.

Kida Kudz – 1AM feat. Jaykae

An unlikely partnership finds Afro-fusion artist Kida Kudz and Birmingham rapper Jaykae link up together on a giddy party anthem. In recent years we’ve seen the gradual rise of Afrobeats amongst the masses, however, the genre is being pushed forward by producers cooking up noteworthy sonics for the new generation to take flight, as is the case with ‘1AM.’

The Jiggy Boyz head honcho is in his zone and naturally manoeuvres through the N64’s chopped up hiplife sample. Breathing new life onto a ‘00s era sample of VIP’s ‘Ahomka Wo Mu’ with sparkling chords and subtle drill-infused 808s. On the song, Kida Kudz melodically raps about splitting his time between fine women and balling out in multiple currencies. Jaykae, on the other hand, finds himself outside of his comfort zone and laxly titters between his domineering grime ego and vibe selector.

JonnoAQ – Headlock

There will come a time where you’ll need more than optimism and a bleeding desire to be achieve your goals. Jonno’s ambition isn’t newfound, in fact it’s a chilly display of the South London rapper’s desire to make it a reality at all cost. Manifesting your vision is good, but Jonno grips his firmly on his chest on ‘Headlock,’ which is the first release from his debut project ‘F.E.A.R (Face Everything And Recover)’.

One third of ALQAE, Jonno takes a ride on a ghoulish carousel housing medieval horns chugging out a rather gloomy melody. The dark textures create a soundscape in which the rapper battles his fears head on with the boldness of a hungry hustler edging closer to success. With raw lyricism and cutting delivery Jonno raps promote self-reliance where he would rather forgo the quick get rich schemes in search of long money.