I’ve been telling myself for months now I was going to write a post about Vic Mensa and his phenomenal debut album, The Autobiography, which dropped last year.
Of course, if you’ve had a squiz at what I look like on that About page or checked my insta, you’re probably sitting there like “this bitch is whiter than snow, what is she telling me to listen to rap music for?”
I’m telling you because it’s good. I mean REALLY good.
I’ve been a closet rap fan ever since I heard 2Pac’s California Love on my radio back in the early 90’s.
Of course, there was a lot of backlash towards enjoying rap music in my small Australian community, so I kept the fact that I owned a copy of Fear of a Black Planet by Public Enemy well hidden from school mates. (I was enough of a nerdy outcast already, I didn’t need to add more fuel to that fire!)
As I mentioned a while back when I shared my ever growing Songs for a Saturday Night playlist with you readers, my taste in music is eclectic and I just don’t give a shit what other people think anymore. I like what I like.
And boy do I like Vic Mensa.
Last year when everyone was getting hype to me about Post Malone, all I kept thinking was, damn this dude makes me want to listen to more Vic Mensa, why the hell have none of you heard of Vic Mensa? (No offense to Malone there, he’s got his own good thing going for him.)
The thing is, this Mensa kid is one of the most genuine rappers I’ve heard in a long time. He tackles issues that the public often shy away from. His songs deal with his depression, drug use, as well as unhealthy and abusive relationships of both the intimate and platonic kind. He owns his mistakes, and his demons, in his music, which I find to be both unbelievably brave and inspirational. That’s right, I said inspirational. This kid from Chicago admits to the whole world how’s he fucked up right in his lyrics. (Check out There’s A Lot Going On, to see exactly what I’m talking about here.)
His latest single, We Could Be Free comes complete with a harrowing music video showing the daily life of Palestinian citizens. You can read him talk about his experiences in the country first hand in a piece he wrote for Time.
You see, that’s why I love Vic Mensa, it’s not just that he has really sweet flow and a great production team. It’s not just that he helped Yeezy work on Life of Pablo. It’s because he actually gets it. He has a real understanding of the world that we live in today and he translates that understanding into his songs with pure, unabated passion.
And why hasn’t this kid just absolutely exploded? I really can’t tell you.
He’s got the talent lyrically and musically to be smashing the game right now, and yet it’s taken Spotify until yesterday to even create a “This is Vic Mensa” playlist.
But it isn’t just his talent that makes me such a Mensa fangirl. It’s basically his attitude. He’s working to bring awareness to human rights issues, both in the world at large, and in his hometown of Chicago.
Building a better community in Chicago is clearly a cause close to Mensa’s heart. Just this month launched his own fundraiser, Save Money, Save Life, to help get his foundation of the ground.
Mensa’s foundation has two focuses. The first, Street Medics, is dedicated to training civilians as trauma and mental health first-responders within Chicago neighbourhoods with high rates of violence. The second goal, is the uniVERSE project, an education and mentor program that’s focused on supporting Indigenous and Black youths in America.
So even if his music isn’t really your jam, I’m sure you can at least get behind the guy’s massive heart and dedication to improving his community and the world at large.