Vic Mensa: “The Autobiography” and Sonic Appeal

Gaining attention during his “Save Money” affiliation with rapper/superstar Chance The Rapper, Vic Mensa has had an interesting position in the spotlight. His slow, yet steady incline since his roster placement in XXL’s 2014 Freshman Class situated him perfectly for the release of “The Autobiography:” the Chicago rapper’s first full debut album. Released almost a month ago, Mensa shares the ups and downs of his life from romance to drug abuse. Tense, striking and reminiscent in it’s confessional grandeur, the record could stand next to Lauryn’s “Miseducation” or Kanye’s “Dropout.” While his lyricism and vulnerability takes center stage, I wonder if it is mainstream worthy. The album takes on a drastically different terrain than the rhymer’s former music style. Older tracks like “Orange Soda,” “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Feel That” profiled a nonchalant soulfulness of the indie rapper. Even in his high profile collaboration like the Kanye-led “Wolves” and the Techno based “Down On My Luck” there was a pleasant, mood swinging consistency. Tracks on “The Autobiography” sours your palette with gritty, electric instrumentals cradling dark, aggressive, telling lyrics. Staticky in the listening experience, Mensa made special moments in songs that whispered his fervent, groove-based foundation. His intro “Say I Didn’t” samples Bay area swooner Darondo, the song a classic success story nod to his humble beginnings. The end breakdown in “Rolling Like A Stoner” highlights Mensa’s blended, grainy vocals. While “OMG” armours Mensa with the Pusha-T assisted braggadocio I was heaving for. Defining in it’s message, “The Autobiography” is a complicated work of art.


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