I’ll say this now and I’ll say this again. Vic Mensa’s The Autobiography: worth it.
Although he has been in the rap scene for quite a while, collaborating with Kanye on 2015’s “U Mad” and signing with Jay-z’s Roc Nation record label, The Autobiography is Vic’s first full-length album. Prior to the release of The Autobiography, Vic had released EPs There’s Alot Going On and The Manuscript. The Autobiography is interesting in that it is Vic’s first release large release and it came only after he ‘made it.’ Would Vic still bring the same energy and lyricism present in his earlier mixtapes, or would his first album lack creativity and verve?
Vic easily dispels any doubt in his skill or creativeness. Vic Mensa has the ‘god flow’ of Kanye but the humanity of the rest of us. The first song in the album, “Say I Didn’t” is a magnificent told-you-so to the people who doubt him. Vic expresses how important family is to him and how proud he is of his transformation from drug dealer to rap star. He specifically talks about how although he was lucky to have a father as a kid, their relationship was rocky. But now,
Hit the town with my old man, make him feel young again
I know he proud of that tattooed son of his…
You used to hate to hear the phone ring
Now you can’t wait to hear the phone ring, ain’t that a beautiful thing?
These themes present in his album are very welcome compared to mainstream rap. Vic is not just ‘stunting,’ rapping about riches and women.
Vic continues to rap about family, but also about shares his faults and insecurities. He does this in “Rollin like a Stoner,” a song that’s almost a punk ballad that address his out of control drug use. “Homewrecker” and “Gorgeous” address broken relationships Vic has had with women. “Heaven on Earth” is a very clever song about the death of Vic’s close friend Cam told from three viewpoints: Vic’s, Cam’s from heaven, and the guilt-ridden murderer’s.
One of Vic’s most sensitive songs is his collaboration with artist Pharrell Williams, “Wings.” “Wings” addresses Vic’s drug use, self-hatred, and suicidal thoughts. This is an irregularly sensitive topic for a rap song to be about, but Vic paints a picture of himself and his pain that is beautiful. He sprinkles the song with creative lines like, “I don’t love you, I don’t like you like a fucking metaphor.”
Vic paints a picture of himself that is broken yet function. His music succeeds in getting his message across with playful but meaningful lyrics, soulful singing, and masterful production. Vic Mensa’s The Autobiography is worth the hype.