Drug addiction, domestic disputes, struggling with new found fame and success— Vic Mensa has taken time to express and expose the events of his life that have transpired over the last two years. His sudden rise to fame began in 2013 with the release of his second solo project ‘INNANETAPE’, which followed the international success of the single ‘Down on My Luck’. In 2015 Mensa signed under Roc Nation, and is now affiliated with the likes of hip-hop legends Jay-Z and Kanye West, but it is Mensa’s lyrical ability and raw style that has put him in a unique class of artists and songwriters.
On his newest EP titled “There’s A lot Going On”, the Chicago native comments on the injustices happening all around him, a personal note to those who can relate and sympathise. He leaves no one to wonder his thoughts and feelings on the current situations in Flint, Michigan, where an entire city doesn’t have clean water to drink, and police brutality in Chicago, which continues to escalate. Mensa takes on the weight of the world in this project; one could speculate that his intentions are to “wake up” the masses to the issues right in front of us, and to stop us being blinded by the temporary, bizarre, often nonsensical trends of (social) media.
Social commentary has always been a genuine component of Hip-hop, and though this may seem to have been lost in the last few years, let us try to take step back and keep an eye on the future of the musical genre as artists like Mensa take on the bigger subjects.
What makes this EP stand out is its title track and music video. The accompanying visuals place creative focus on confessions. The spotlight hanging right above you, telling all of your secrets, fears, disappointments, and yet, a hopeful sense lingers; redemption is near. A simple white backdrop, famous faces portrayed on target papers, a dangerous environment simulated all to make a statement that everything and everyone is a target these days. A simple mistake misconstrued to be your biggest flaw, a relationship ended on undisputed terms exaggerated to show your selfish needs over others. Look closer into the eyes of regret and what is taken away from this is a metaphor, although a subjective one. Place yourself in his shoes and see that your failures do not define you. It is your road to absolution that makes your story worthy of the world’s eyes.
No matter if you are a fan of his music, or a fan of hip-hop in general, this artist understands the power of music and plans to make it his own. The ability to transverse your audience and take them out of their own world and into another realm. Mensa speaks from the heart about what everyone else in the world is thinking right now, “There’s a lot going on.” Sometimes it’s too much.