As Hip-Hop continues to age and generations grow up only knowing it’s current mid-life crisis those who have seen it mature- and in some cases immature- know there is one main element mysteriously missing from the original formula. With the passing of Muhammad Ali we are all reminded of the power celebrities have simply within celebrity. With all the raw data the internet allows that distant past is no longer distant, the days of Prince battling the entire music industry and Tupac sparking a revolution are as alive as ever on uploads of decade old interviews and TV appearances. Enter Vic Mensa, a unique combination of the raw self aware social commentary of the golden age of Hip-Hop naturally mended with the millennial mind-state of rapid cultural fad overload that comes with social media and instantaneous internet information.
Being influenced by every genre that has music available to be torrent-ed can find an artist torn and struggling to find their voice. Vic’s debut single “Down On My Luck” a brilliant up-tempo light-hearted House track is miles from the raw sounds of his Roc Nation debut EP ‘There’s Alot Going On’. From front man of a band to literally making sure the public knows that Tupac’s Thug Life mission is “Still Alive” a tat purposefully displayed on the cover art over Mensa’s abdomen symbolically unscathed by the bullets. “16 Shots”, the track which eludes to the cover, is also dedicated to Laquan McDonald and is one of the most straight forward revolution tracks since “Holla If Ya Hear Me”. “New Bae” is a dark down-tempo drunkenly auto-tuned sung song about carnal pleasures pulling much influence from mentor and collaborator Kanye West’s “Im In It”.
There is a lot going on on “There’s Alot Going On”: a resurgence of social commentary, explicit and vivid love songs, a call to arms for victims of police brutality and to wrap it all up the title track concludes it all with some self reflection. Accompanied by a video that in line with the lyrics doesn’t ever move the focus from Mensa, Vic chronicles his journey in the music industry detailing the personal peaks and valleys he has trekked through triumphantly to arrive at this point.