Vic Mensa Encapsulates His Innermost Thoughts on 'The Manuscript'
  • MONDAY, JUNE 12, 2017

  • Posted by: Nailah Andre


Vic Mensa dropped The Manuscript, a small collection of songs he is calling a "capsule," not an EP. The four track capsule features songs "Almost There" featuring Mr. Hudson, "Omg" featuring Pusha T, "Rollin' Like A Stoner," and "Rage." Each one an excellent display of the Chicago rapper's multifaceted style.

On his last project There's Alot Going On Vic Mensa went political by diving into topics like the police killing of Laquan McDonald, a young black Chicago native, and the contamination of Flint, Michigan water pipes. This project doesn't seem to deviate from this theme. Vic Mensa has been rapping about the political climate of his hometown Chicago as well as the rest of the country since his breakout mixtape INNANETAPE.

Early on in his career Mensa presented himself as a sort of lyrical heavy backpack rapper. The kind of rapper with a great flow and talented bars with fun and sometimes serious lyrics. I wouldn't say that he has deviated completely from his initial image but I will say it is clear that he has been looking to branch out for some time now. The first pieces of evidence in this case was his single "Down On My Luck" where he seemed to be going the route of pop/rock star.



Then even his image started to change, he dyed his hair blonde and started wearing eyeliner and leather jackets. Vic Mensa didn't want to by tied down to the label of "rapper," it seemed his new goal was to become a bonafide rock star somewhere between Kanye West and Kurt Cobain. Some might say the Chicago rapper a young Tupac Shakur, loudmouthed and radical with a stomach tattoo to top it off.



In the short four track capsule The Manuscript Vic Mensa rounds all the bases of his musical styles. Mensa has yet to clarify exactly what he meant by classifying this project as a capsule. My guess is that it's a snapshot of where his mental space as well as the political climate is at this time.

First it starts off with "Almost There" where he raps about his personal growth as an artist. "This for all my fans that say they want that old Vic. I've grown too much to ever be the old Vic.I'm new and improve call me Vic 2.0."

Then later in the song he speaks about his heritage as the son of an African immigrant and how that fits into his identity as a black American. "But we made our own American on this cotton field. Till we got a black millionaire for every Emmett Till. I'm representin', I'm representin', I'm representin'".

The second track on the capsule "OMG" features lyrics from both Pusha T and Pharrell Williams and of course Skateboard P also produced this track. The "OMG" in this case stands for "Oh My Goodness" and it comes from a sample of a rather plain Jane computer program reciting the words. This sample in juxtaposition with the aggressive hard hitting verses and instrumental lead to a very entertaining song.

The last two tracks on The Manuscript lean more toward Vic Mensa's rock star aspirations. In "Rollin' Like A Stoner" Mensa sings the hook about the consequences of partying in excess and how drinking alcohol and doing drugs can affect a person. "Rage" is the last track and the ultimate emo teen anthem. The hook sung by Vic himself is a play on the famous Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night he sings "I want you to rage into the night. I want you to blaze into the light. Before your final flight. But boy, you're fine, you're fine." Like the emo artists before him the tune is catchy but morbid. Throughout the song he raps about the inevitability of death and overcoming his demons, this song is perhaps the most vulnerable we've seen Vic Mensa.

The Manuscript leaves the listener wanting more and for good reason. Vic Mensa has been working on a studio album called Traffic since 2015. The album is said to be executive produced by No I.D but was held back so Mensa could release his more personal project The Manuscript. The Senior Vice President of Roc Nation says the fourteen track album is practically done.
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