Music and art are two creative outlets that go hand in hand. Last night, in a small art gallery in the heart of the lower east side of New York, Mick Jenkins allowed fans to take part in a Q&A and listening session for his latest project, Wave[s]. The Chicago rapper explained the inspiration behind the nine track EP and the beautiful artwork created by St. Louis artist, Hayveyah McGowan.
“Wave[s] was something that was inspired by not wanting to alter the music to fit a concept. But wanting to allow the music to stand as we felt or we recorded it. That was the goal with Wave[s], we wanted to create feelings. It was originally going to be called Feels but to stick with the water concept, I called it Wave[s]. We wanted to pay attention to doing something different with the sound and exploring elements of music that we thought would make things more fun and felt as opposed to just heard.”
On the album artwork by Hayveyah McGowan:
“I’m a person who didn’t give a lot of time to artwork for songs. Looking at the music and how we were trying to elevate the quality of that, we felt like we needed to elevate the quality of the artwork as well. So Hayveyah, I enlisted and commissioned pieces from by sending her the music at a very early stage. One song at a time so she wouldn’t get distracted by the others and had her paint to the music based on what she felt.
On working with Kaytranada for “Your Love”:“Kaytranada sent me a batch of beats, this was the first beat that was there. I was just inspired. I listen to music in that realm… It just kinda like had a funky vibe to it and that’s what I came up with. It was definitely inspired by a woman.”
On the inspiration behind “Alchemy”:“I was reading The Alchemist, actually. I was really inspired by the book. I’ve actually read it twice now. I just felt like that’s kind of what I was doing metaphorically. Lead as in pencil, bars as gold. That’s a loose metaphor for that. I was just trying to approach the first song of the tape by letting everyone know that’s what I felt like I was doing.”
Hayveyah on creating “Alchemy” Artwork:
“It [Alchemy] was really heavy with the metaphors so I felt like I needed to be more conceptual with this piece at the time. I was studying Egyptian art and the study of pyramids and how they connected to the sun.”
On working together:
“I didn’t really tell her anything at all. I would just be like ‘Make sure you’re listening to this song only when you paint’. She’d be asking me questions and I’d be like ‘Is that what you want to do?’ [Laughs] I really wanted it to be completely up to her. So whenever I got paintings back , luckily I loved them, but even if I didn’t I wouldn’t have been like ‘Oh, we need to do this one again’. I really wanted it to be her interpretation of whatever she felt.”
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