Vic Mensa has been on my mind a lot this week. Last week he released There’s Alot Going On, a seven-track mixtape that far, far exceeded my expectations. It was emotionally and thematically poignant on many levels, all the while backed by strong production and heavy beats.
This week he released the video to title track There’s Alot Going On. It was also his 23rd birthday, and he also visited US hip-hop radio show The Breakfast Club for an in-depth interview about his new mixtape and more.
Throughout the interview, Mensa discusses a number of tracks on the album including 16 Shots, a powerful track about the shooting of Lacquan McDonald in October 2014 in Chicago; the title track, which addresses his experiences with depression and a number of dramatic events in his life, and Shades of Blue, about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
When asked about commenting on political events, he says, “I don’t really view talking about the world and the events happening around me as being political. Yeah this specific voting aspect is political but I wouldn’t consider my self a political person or a political artist, I’m more so just for reality. I think people forget that there is an opportunity in music to talk about something. And when you do talk about something that’s not the club or a Maserati, they’re like, ‘Oh, he on some political shit.”
When asked about the EP cover, which features a target on his chest, he replied, “I was raised with the knowledge that I was a target… [my father taught me that] Because of the colour of my skin and where I’m from, I’m a target in this world. I wanted to make that target more than a metaphor for the police… It’s also in the industry, in the rap game. There’s people that want my spot… Being in a position of elevation, a lot of people wanna get at you.”
The interview covers many other topics including his work under Roc Nation, about the impact of Jay Z’s label on himself and his generation as a whole, about the importance of putting out quality, meaningful music with messages that don’t necessarily focus on drugs, money, clubbing and so on.
Watch the full interview below.
Here, watch the video for Mensa’s single There’s Alot Going On