There are few writers in hip-hop as eloquent as Mick Jenkins. Those who abide by the art of lyricism are likely well-aware of Mick's pen game, unique in its poetical nature, at once geek-friendly, introspective, and brutally honest. Last year, he declared that nobody could come for him except Kendrick with a convincing degree of authenticity. Though perhaps a little too obscure within the greater mainstream zeitgeist, Mick remains exactly the sort of artist that could one day enter a Pulitzer conversation, should he continue to push himself to daring creative heights.

For many, their introduction to Mick Jenkins arrived alongside The Waters, which celebrates its fifth birthday on this very day.  Though Mick had been steadily gaining traction off the strength of his Trees & Truths tape, The Waters made for his introduction into the mainstream eye. With production from a trusted collective of THEMPEOPLE, High Klassified, Statik Selektah, OnGuad, DJ Dahi, Kirk Knight, and Dream Koala, The Waters featured an appropriately lush soundscape, moving from hard-hitting to romantic to introspective at a moment's notice. And while the instrumentation helped bring the album's character to life, Mick's pen deserves no shortage of credit in that department. 

Songs like "Jazz," the 5 Pound Media-shot "Martyrs," "514," the Joey Bada$$-assisted "Jerome," "Black Sheep," and the genuinely sweet "Healer," Mick carries himself with the gravitas of a leading man. From punchlines to immersive reflections of self, Jenkins can and does deliver both sides of his persona with conviction. In truth, The Water(s) has aged incredibly well, sounding crisp and lyrically dense in the best possible way. If you have yet to check out one of this decade's essential mixtapes, in Mick's own words, "don't lack."