Vic Mensa, the ghost who killed Chicago and then left has now returned. You would have to be a fool to argue that Chicago doesn’t have one of the best music scenes to date right now. Before they brought thousands out of the cut, a few years back there were two rappers who served as Steph Curry and Klay Thompson of the Midwest: Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa. Reppin’ SAVEMONEY, these two were perfect leaders of an army that killed on sight, or at first listen. The only difference is, Vic slowed down. Understandable though, Chance remained independent and Vic, well Vic signed with one of hip-hops legends, Jay-Z at Roc Nation. The word has been that he’s been working on his debut album ‘Traffic’ but right in the beginning of the summer, he blessed us with a new EP entitled ‘There’s A Lot Going On’. Track by track, this is what we heard…
- Dynasty: It’s truly dope how aggressive yet poetic Vic Mensa is. Imagine a young man getting up on open mic night who’s never performed before but has everything to say; that’s Vic in Dynasty. As he shouts SAVEMONEY and Roc Nation, he proved that years later he’s never switched up and musically you could say the same. He brings us through the streets and the conscious of a corrupt world and a system built to incarcerate and manipulate. He brought the emotion on this one. This is not only what we’ve been waiting for; it seems like what he’s been waiting for as well.
- 16 Shots: Earlier I mentioned something about Chicago being this army of emerging artists. That army idea is clearer in this track than it’s ever been in the sense of war. Vic takes us through both parallels of the institution and the institutionalized. As he speaks upon both sides of the gun, he mainly screams about the lack of fear within the people, no matter the oppressor. Kind of like a “you can shoot us but just know we’re shooting back” kind of idea. From the flags to badge, Vic rapped about how there will be no fear, anywhere.
- Danger: In any good project the versatility is evident. What was noted in this track was the fact that it’s a banger. “Danger” is a part of this new sounding hip-hop that’ll serve as perfect background music when you’ve got a bottle or a blunt in your hands. Not to say that the song is just about the beat because the content is on point too. This is clearly exemplifying the grit of Chicago and the heart and grit that comes out of the Southside. This is rawness at its finest.
- New Bae: Aside from the streets I guess this man has some feelings too. As Vic speaks upon drafting a fine jawn to get lit with, your head will instantly bob to this Travis Scott inspired sound. “New Bae” is a heavy track but at the same time it’s hella chill. I can’t really speak from a female’s point of view but I can only imagine the roughness that would come with messing with a man from Chicago. I feel like Vic took us there in this one.
- Liquor Locker ft. Ty Dolla Sign: Let’s slow it down a little. This man pulled out the acoustic for this, on the contrary an electric acoustic that prevailed calmly behind being drunk and acknowledging those subconscious feelings that finally arose to the surface. As the beat falls in line as does the deepness of not understanding why a girl doesn’t realize what she has in front of her. As Vic sings about how he can take her there, the music will capture you and make you want to sip on something of your own. We must also not that TY$ is one of the best feature artists in the game right now so you already know he killed his verse. They say when you get drunk, the truth comes out so I guess Vic took to the studio before anything else.
- Shades of Blue: This was a PSA announcement for the people in the sense that the emotional drive was evident from the first sentence. This is that one track on a project that an artist needs to put down because it opens up so many doors and outlets of reflection. Simply put the best artists don’t need the beat to make a track. As Vic spits over less than 10 piano notes and a kick, listen to the journey his lyrics take you on and let it take you away. Not to say when you’re feeling low but when you’re feeling open, run “Shades of Blue”. The connection is inevitable, it just takes timing.
- There’s A Lot Going On: Wait hold up, we just got let in for real. The diary has now reached another level as Vic takes us through these past few years of his life. Now we can kind of see why he was ghost; he was going through some things. As he raps about signing to Roc Nation, physical fights with his girl, and the split of his former band Kids These Days, you can’t even let your head bob, for this one you have to just listen. We got the story behind every single track he’s dropped over the past two years, features and all from “Down on My Luck” to Wolves. On the opposing end, the biggest door was opened at the end of the project. It’s more than pleasing to hear that Vic stayed true to himself.
Stream ‘There’s A Lot Going On’ via Spotify and Apple Music right now, Vic is back and he came with it.
By K. High