Effortlessly cool Chicago M.C. Mick Jenkins showcases his slick style to legions of fans on Instagram.
A Lollapalooza veteran with a raved-about 2016 debut album, The Healing Component, under his belt, Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins is heralded as one of the genre’s most promising talents. But that’s hardly the message the Pilsen resident broadcasts to his nearly 140,000 Instagram followers (@mickjenkins).
“I care more about the user experience,” the 25-year-old wordsmith says. “I don’t want to post eight pictures in a row about the tour dates I just did.” Instead, Jenkins’ feed illustrates his signature high-meets-low style in a candid—yet acutely choreographed— setting: Think navy prep staples modeled against a busy, blue-green tennis court, followed by hypertrendy Yeezys draped over an understated staircase. It’s a smart parallel to the fastidious craftsmanship typical of his wordplay, with lyrics referencing everything from life on the South Side to photographer Annie Liebovitz.
For Jenkins, whose style muses include hip-hop dandies André 3000 and Mos Def, it’s a natural evolution: “That’s just been my whole life. I was doing stuff like that on Facebook before there was Instagram.” As his appeal widens—he kicked off 2017 with shows in Australia and New Zealand—Jenkins’ tastes remain rooted in local tastemakers like Penelope’s and Una Mae’s in Wicker Park and Mankind in West Town. But unlike his entendre-laden lyrics, he insists his style is independent of any message. “I’m just getting dressed,” he laughs.