By ROB DUGUAY When he's not spitting rhymes as the frontman for the Providence hip-hop band Toad & The Stooligans, Mike Jencks is doing the same thing but in solo fashion. The West Warwick resident has his own project that goes by the name of Toadstool
When he’s not spitting rhymes as the frontman for the Providence hip-hop band Toad & The Stooligans, Mike Jencks is doing the same thing but in solo fashion.
The West Warwick resident has his own project that goes by the name of Toadstool while taking a vintage approach and rapping over beats. To continue down this artistic path, he just released the next chapter of his prolific discography on Sept. 4 with the “Falling Up” EP. It’s a collection of three tracks that oozes charisma, confidence and honesty. It also exhibits a sly inventiveness in rhythm and structure with the samples being on point and profound.
The record has Jencks embracing a golden period of hip-hop while abiding by the style’s roots. He also incorporated some new techniques into his music while keeping it all unapologetically real.
“I really wanted to capture that old school, sampled, ’98 style hip-hop with this small project, while keeping with my style of lyrical overload,” he said of the vision behind the EP. “These songs are songs I made while isolated in quarantine, and the last one is especially one the most honest pieces of work I think I’ve ever done. I’m also learning how to scratch vinyls, so you’ll be hearing some of that on this record as well.”
With a mariachi vibe, “Barbed Wire” is an unlikely party anthem. The horn samples and harmonies really make it pop into the senses while conveying a leisurely aesthetic. A track that’s called “Shawn Michaels” needs to have some swagger to it, and the flow and magnetism that’s exhibited makes it live up to the name. It also has some of that vinyl scratching previously mentioned and it shows that Jencks doesn’t need to take himself too seriously to have musical credibility. “Shifting Tides” is a hard-hitting and emotional track that has Jencks examining himself and the demons he deals with.
September 2020 is going to be a special month for Jencks. Along with the new EP, Toad & The Stooligans will also be releasing their sophomore full-length album, “Jesus Juice,” on Sept. 25. The band will be ringing in the album in a socially distanced way with an outdoor show at Askew, located at 150 Chestnut St. in Providence, a week ahead of the release date on Sept. 18. It’ll be a great opportunity to see Jencks do what he does best.
In the meantime, check out and stream Toadstool’s “Falling Up” EP on either Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music, Deezer, Medianet or Napster and enjoy some really good hip-hop from a person who has a lot to say.