Regardless of your taste in music, we all want a fun time when we are listening. In this song Mick Jenkins gives us both a solid artistic background and a meaningful, up front lyrical delivery. “Good vibes” literally start of this track by which blends an ephemeral sample loop with a breakbeat just quick enough to get our heads nodding but not quick enough to have us on our feet bouncing. Jumping into the opening chorus, which has layers of Jenkins both speaking and singing in an RnB meets jazz melody, we are onset with the central thesis of this song: Mick just wants us to mellow out and chat about something deep. In the chorus we are asked to step into the shoes of Jenkins, specifically by sharing a joint with him. He is open in saying he’s not trying to get hyped up or go party, he merely wants to sit down and have a real discussion. This hook is memorable not only because of its groove and multiple repetitions, but also because of this notion of slowing down and engaging with the people you consider your friends, which is a lost art for many. This discussion is what he brings in the following verses.

The first verse begins with Jenkins alluding to his unique fashion sense, but quickly dives deeper into life advice. He states that we eventually have to let people fail on their own once our friends have grown up. He mentions his evergreen fondness for cannabis before saying he has been “breaking habits, I pray for balance, I’m tasting scriptures.” He balances his own autonomous and independent life with the flaws and failings of mainstream rap culture. “For the artform and never the handclap,” Jenkins lays out his mission: being deep in his lyrics isn’t about getting praise, it’s about developing the artform of rap to new levels. We see the people around us fail often, and we know by extension that they know we fall too. For Jenkins this is obvious and so he quickly moves on to a brilliantly lyricised critique of the state of America. His vocal expression and cross-referenced puns get the punch on the meaning of his critique of not knowing where things are going but knowing they won’t continue in their current paradigm. Jenkins He wraps up this verse, before returning to the chorus, by making a reference to both Noah’s Ark and rolling a cannabis joint. He hopes to escape in both a metaphorical and psychological manner though the present conversation with us, his listeners.

The second verse is less interesting, but still filled with lots of references and wordplay, showing further that Jenkins really does just want to chat and be interesting instead of being a preacher who claims to have perfect wisdom. “Just for the sheer thought of you listening, let me me express my gratitude,” Jenkins lays out as he wishes to impart that he is appreciative that art could transcend his own world into the lives of people he may never even meet. Right after this he admonishes against the pain of the world and the traps that lay in the path of life. By making mention of his experience being too busy to visit his dying relative (similar to the life experience of Bas) he shows he is aware that nobody is free from the pitfalls of life. From here he goes back to passing the joint mentioning he won’t be “condescending” but will always be honest and open.

The final chorus makes the thesis very memorable and then it repeats one final time in a reduced tempo, emphasizing that the song is meant to phase into real life, perhaps through the end of a joint, and we are called to live out the conversation in our own lives, chewing on the thoughts as we go.

Takeaway: Living meaningfully will require that you sympathize with others on a deeper level, so vibe with a friend one time this week.

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