Sunday, October 20, 2013


Checking Illroots like i normally do every couple of days i kept seeing a little ad on the side for this dude's mixtape. The artist was Vic Mensa and the mixtape was called Innanetape. I didn't think much of it but Illroots kept hyping him up on their page which somewhat means something to me. The artists that illroots push are either hit or miss. They push people like King Chip (formerly Chip tha Ripper) and Chiddy Bang. So when it comes to Vic Mensa i thought to myself i'm going to check it out and i'm probably going to like it for a week but that's it. The artists that Illroots pushes tend to be flashes in the pans for me so i was expecting to listen to this dude's tape, like it for a week, then delete it from from itunes, and listen to it again maybe a year from now. But the name Vic Mensa sounded familiar to me and i was not tripping. He was the rapper aka token black guy lead man in the PG version of The Legendary Roots Crew meets Kids Bop band called Kids These Days. I was not a fan of the band mainly because it just wasn't my cup of tea. And i hated it when Vic rapped over live instrumentation because it didn't mesh well at all. However, you could see the potential that the kid had when he did spit. Then i remembered i saw Vic's name on the tracklist for Chance The Rapper's debut mixtape 10 Day and i was like "holy shit" because he spit on one of my favorite tracks off of that project. I'll be honest. Without that feature on Chancellor's tape I probably would not have given the guy's tape a peep even though it had the Illroots cosign so i contradicted myself there a little but whatever. After that long introduction i had no idea what to expect because the only thing i heard previously of his was his Kids In The Hall Stuff which i hated and his feature with Chance which i loved so who knows how this one would turn out.

My first impressions after listening to the project one time through was that it was alright. I thought it was cool for what it was but i was also expecting it to not make the next round of cuts when it comes time to delete music from my computer. The reasons i thought it was just average and nothing special was because he didn't really capture my attention. Yeah he could rap his ass off and Tweakin for sure is my shit but it didn't feel like he did too much to stand out. First off, you could tell he has spent a lot of time with Chance the Rapper because Vic was using the same flow that Chance was using on Acid Rap. Maybe Chance got the flow from Vic (probably not) but who knows. Secondly, i might just be being a hater here but it bothers me to no end when i feel like someone sounds like someone else in terms of subject matter but i can't seem to pinpoint exactly who. Don't ask me why but it does. I couldn't point a finger as to who Vic sounds like but eventually i came to the conclusion that he was a combination of a poor man's Lupe Fiasco mixed with  J Cole. I say Lupe because Vic seems to be really aware not only of his environment but of himself at such a young age. Maybe it has something to do with living in Chicago because all Chicago rappers for the most part have a grasp on that kind of stuff. Chief Keef missed that day of school. I say J Cole (and i guess you could throw Kid Cudi in there) is because of his hook style. I was thinking through several of his songs that some of the tracks sound radio friendly. I don't know if that was the intention but Vic had some very catchy generic hooks like J Cole but was simple like a Cudi hook. Example of this are on Lovely Day, Magic (whose hook was so damn corny), and Time Is Money. So after the first listen, i wasn't really thinking much of it but i knew i would give it another chance.

All I can say is that i am glad i gave it another chance and am glad that i actually paid attention the more times i listened to it. Everything after Tweakin was an introspective track to some degree. The reason i wasn't feeling it the first time was because i heard Magic and that was some of the corniest rap i heard all year and i was my own buzzkill with regards to the rest of the project. All the other tracks i just listened for the stupid lines and was like "yup this dude is super soft." The whole time i was ignoring some of the stuff that he was sprinkling in the meantime. Once i heard Holy Holy with Ab Soul on there, i was like this dude means business. Schoolboy Q said in an interview that every great project has a track that gets you emotional and this is the one. I'm not going to go in depth with why this was the track, you just gotta listen to it for yourself or take my word for it.

After that track i was noticing a pattern with the track listing. The first four tracks were, i don't want to say unserious tracks but they were more happy go lucky tracks just to get the vibe going. Then he hit the skit which summed up the project as a whole and the message Vic was trying to get out. Vic was saying that he makes music in order to have fun. That's the number 1 priority. That is some of the most generic hippy shit you could possibly say because of course people who make music do it to have fun so he isn't really dropping any newfound wisdom there but i'm not hating. He's still young. Then the middle of the album up until Holy Holy seemed like it was geared for a radio sound. I don't know if that was what he was going for with the production and the catchy hooks but it was almost like a test to see how receptive those songs would be. YUNG NET SAVE PESO. Then i really like how he finished up the project. That's where he was really getting his introspective on with the aforementioned Holy Holy and i really liked RUN! with Thundercat. That track is so different from the rest of the project that i feel it could be a breakout song. He has a number of those tracks on here that could propel him onto the radio but RUN! was definitely the one most unlike the others. Then i really liked his outro song. It was honestly one of the better outro tracks i have heard in a while. It was a real quick summary of how things have changed for Vic since he started to receive some shine and then at the end he was shouting out all those people who have been supporting him but he wasn't doing it in an annoying way.

If you allow me to i will quickly summarize the project into three parts: First third was cool, highlight was Tweakin featuring Chance. The second-third was my least favorite but alright with Time Is Money being the highlight. Shout out to Rockie Fresh. I had previously written him off but i might have to check him out again. Then the last third of the project was definitely my favorite. I liked each of those tracks and it was getting better as the project came to a close. The rack i really could have done without was Yap Yap. How many times are we going to have to hear the same song. It was essentially No Worries part 3. Part 2 was ain worry bou none, ain worry bou none. So i'm knocking Vic off a little for that bullshit but other other than that it was a very solid project. I'll give it a B but it's the kind of B that you feel good about. I don't really know where Vic goes from here though. He has radio potential but by hanging with Chance The Rapper plus emerging as an artist in the internet generation i feel like VIc just as easily might stick to the underground. If he does make the radio, he will get backlash from the "purists" but i don't know if i could hate in him because to me he won't really have to change his style up too much.

In short, this project is not for everyone. If you like Chance the Rapper's style you'll like Vic Mensa. If not then you probably won't like it. If you like coming of age movies you'll like this mixtape. But this isn't some must listen to tape. It didn't change my life or anything. If you don't listen to it you're not really missing out on anything. I liked this project, but Vic didn't jump into my top 5 for current favorite rappers or anything. Let me put it this way, i'm going to follow him and definitely listen to his next project. At the same time, any new releases he has or any features he jumps on isn't going to be a stop everything i'm doing and listen to it. That is going to depend more on who else shows up on the track. Hope that helped for a Vic Mensa introduction. Peace

Binary Star

Rick James

The Cool Kids feat Ghostface Killah

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