Chicago’s Vic Mensa has announced his long-awaited debut album, The Autobiography, set for release later this month on July 28.
The 23-year-old Roc Nation rapper first came to attention with 2013’s Innanetape, and has since seen a remarkable shift in style, themes and delivery; to say he’s grown up before our eyes would be the understatement of the century (and a point of conflict for many of his fans). Last year’s tremendous There’s A lot Going On EP revealed a great deal of internal conflict, admission of mental health, substance abuse and relationship struggles among other issues, including external topics like police brutality and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
In case it wasn’t obvious that he’s grown up and changed, new single Wings announces the introduction of “Victor, not Vic Mensa, the one you never meet in a XXL issue.”
The Autobiography comes shortly after The Manuscript, a four-track “capsule” (aka EP) preempting the album by providing context about where he is in his life right now. One of its tracks will feature on the full album, Rollin’ Like A Stoner, a satirical anti-party anthem-that-sounds-like-a-party-song, not unlike Kendrick Lamar’s Swimming Pools (Drank). OMG ft. Pusha T and Rage have both been tacked on as bonus tracks, bringing the tracklist total to 15.
Giving the revealing nature of his last releases, on top of the album title, it’s likely that the album really will sound like an autobiography; expect real, detailed, personal stories about love, loss and life. “This is my blood sweat and tears,” he wrote in press release. “I’m so infinitely grateful to everyone that’s been here with me for the ride. A lot of you were down with me when I was going through some of the hardest parts of my life, and I wrote an album about them, my debut album. I got so much love for the people that support me and I really did this album for y’all. Based on a true story.”
The album is another notch on Roc Nation’s bulging belt this year. Executive produced by No I.D, who is currently enjoying some serious time in the spotlight thanks to his brilliant work on Jay-Z’s new 4:44, the album features a carefully selected guest list including The-Dream, Syd, Chief Keef, Joey Purp and even, bizarrely, Weezer.
Ahead of the album, Vic has also dropped a confronting new single, Wings ft. Pharrell Williams and Saul Williams. The song covers a really wide range of topics, assumedly preparing us for the heavy nature of the album.
Opening on a psychedelic instrumental that wouldn’t be ill fitting on Tame Impala’s latest record, he begs to be taken away from the drama surrounding him, commenting on the volatile nature of the rap game. From there he questions his own success and personal value, asking if his friends appreciate him, or the attention he gets. He speaks about his depression, drug addiction and suicidal behaviour, before ending on “Climb the tallest building and spread your wings”. The line – and the subsequent hook of “Jumping, jumping, jumping jumping, falling, falling, falling to the sky” could be interpreted a couple ways; spreading his wings and jumping could mean rising and succeeding, but it could also mean defeat, resignation, even death. It’s likely an intentional contradiction – one he clearly battles with often, and one we’ll hear a lot more of on The Autobiography.
Listen here via Apple Music or below via Spotify, and get excited.
Image: Frank Ockenfels III