Victor Kwesi Mensah, commonly known as Vic Mensa, is a 25-year-old rapper and activist from Chicago, Illinois. His career started in 2009, when he joined the indie band « Kids These Days » with his very close friend Nico Segal and seven other artists.
In 2011, he created the rap collective SAVEMONEY along side many other chicagoan rappers like Chance The Rapper, Joey Purp, Towkio, and Kami, just to name a few. SAVEMONEY had a big impact on the youth of the city, encouraging them to create more, motivating them to get out of the box and be creative in rap and art altogether.
The title of the mixtape is a mix between the words « internet » and « mixtape ». The concept randomly came up to him while he was in a « psychedelic state of mind » as he says, surrounded by his closest friends. It features chicagoan rappers Chance the Rapper, Joey Purp and Rockie Fresh but also Ab-Soul and singer Eliza Doolittle.
Vic got a lot of recognition out of Innanetape thanks to the success of Orange Soda, the second track of the mixtape.
Following the release of his project, he got the opportunity to tour with J. Cole and Wale on their What Dreams May Come tour and also with Danny Brown’s European leg.
To cap it all off, he was picked to be on the cover of XXL for the Freshman Class of 2014 alongside his brother from another mother, Chance The Rapper.
Down on my Luck (2014)
Down on my Luck is Vic’s debut single. This song is very far from anything he has done in the past. The track has house music influences. It was well received, specially in the United Kingdom, charting for weeks on UK’s Top 40.
In 2015, Vic signs with Jay-z’s Roc Nation
After a two-year break, Vic came back with an EP entitled There’s Alot Going On. That same year, he was featured on Kanye West’s Wolves from his album The Life Of Pablo.
There’s Alot Going On (2016)
This record is seen as incredibly personal and honest. He talks about everything that has been going on in his life.
On the eponymous track of the EP, Vic adresses many subjects such as his struggle with depression, drug abuse, his relationship with model Natalie Wright, contemplating suicide and the « Kids These Days » break up.
Police brutality is also a prominent subject on this project. On the second track entitled 16 Shots, he refers to the death of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old unarmed black boy murdered by a white police officer in the streets of Chicago. He was shot sixteen times. This story had such an impact on Vic that the cover art of the project was inspired by the event. : on the cover, Vic has a target on his chest and he is surrounded by sixteen bullet holes.
On the 6th track, Shades Of Blue, he refers to another baffling issue in America : the lack of clean water in Flint, Michigan. The people of Flint have been out of clean water since April 2014.
In parallel with his music, Vic has another passion : fashion. He’s done a lot of modeling for brands. He was criticized a lot by the fragile masculinity aspect of the rap game when he started wearing tighter clothes and nail polish. But it did not stop him from serving looks.
In 2017 he launched his own jacket line named 93PUNKS, featuring his friends Lil Uzi Vert and YesJulz.
The Autobiography (2017)
Last year, Vic Mensa released his very first album The Autobiography inspired by The Autobiography of Malcolm X co-written by Alex Haley.
On this record, Vic tells more of his life story : his mental health, his love life, his relationship with his family and the murder of his best friend. The album features big names like No I-D, Pharrell Williams, Ty Dolla Sign, Weezer, The-Dream, Chief Keef and Pusha T.
« It’s a human album, It explores my humanity, mainly, and I leave that to the listener to make parallels to themselves. When I say that the album is my blood, sweat, and tears, and everything I’ve learned up to this point, it’s just because it literally is. » he says on an interview with Rap-Up.
Vic Mensa’s career is taking off and he has a very promising future. He just came off Jay-z’s 4:44 tour and is apparently working on a new project, while still doing a lot for the youth of Chicago with his brand new charity « Save Money, Save Lives ».