Vic Mensa set out for his album to be a story about his life and he did just that. Mensa stated in a interview with 'Big Boy' that "every record on the album serves a purpose, it tells a key to a real truth in my life”. Executively produced by “The Godfather of Chicago Hip Hop”: No I.D, this project feels like an ode to Chicago.
The first track “Say I Didn’t” opens with Vic’s father’s voice telling him to “turn down the music”, showing his dedication to music at a young age. Vic expresses his thoughts regarding his future with an “ I told you so” attitude through his lyrics: Didn’t I tell you we was gon’ make it to the top”. Accompanied by a sample from Darondo’s “Didn't I” and guest vocals from Ty Dolla $ign, a soulful feeling is brought to the introductory track. Opening with this, really sets the tone for this album, in which we expect to hear Vic’s journey and his commentary on those pressing topics we are familiar with him bringing to light.
The album definitely lives up to its title, with it being very transparent in terms of its content. In “Memories on 47th St”, Mensa digs into his past, sharing the relationship between his parents, the adversities and memories living on 47th St. Vic paints a picture of the violence he was exposed to during his childhood, living in Chicago: “Gunshots outside my window”, Vic continues to delve into the discoveries he made in terms of race, police while reminding us that the hard times that he had endure, which is what ultimately led to his success. An important statement made in this track takes place within the “Outro". Vic sheds light on the misuse of drugs, mental health and escapism; which is uncommon within the music industry today, and very refreshing to see. Vic states “We often turn to self - medication as a coping mechanism, some make a living as hood pharmacists”. With the “stripped down” beat we are really able to hear the depth of Vic's words.
Vic Mensa’s love for Rock music is very prevalent through his style and it is also heard in his music. Songs like “Homewrecker” that use heavy guitar sounds, paired with immense storytelling are a great example of this. The song features rock band: Weezer as well as a sample from their song “The Good Life through a version of the bridge. This pairing though contrasting creates a diverse sound for the album.
Although the song details Vic Mensa’s struggle in his previous relationship, Vic also describes the complicated relationship between minorities and police officers. Both topics are interestingly combined, making it a great listen. Vic also deals with taking accountability for his mistakes during his relationship in this song, when he raps “ And I made it happen, I should’a known better” In an interview with “Power 106 Los Angeles”, Vic explained that his album cover is inspired by “Homewrecker” and goes on to say that is about “a woman destroying his home”. All of this we hear in the contents of the song.
It is also interesting to hear Mensa’s range in terms of the types of songs he can make. He is great at making those heartfelt lyrical tracks. But at the same time, make great crossover songs. Taking “Rolling Like A Stoner”as an example, the song has an infectious bounce and catchy melody. The instrumental may capture party culture but the song still contains well though out lyrics. The songs reinstates the theme of self-medication, which he previously mentions. Vic raps “Rolling like a stoner, I got a problem nobody knows”. It is great to see how versatile Vic Mensa is in terms of his beat choices and his ability to still bring his signature substance to a song.
“The Autobiography” is not shy of A List features, from having Ty Dolla $ign, Pusha T, The Dream to Pharrell on “Wings”. A song where Vic reflects on his drug addiction through a letter to himself in the second verse, he raps: You’re still a drug addict, you're nothing without your medicine” but then concludes by “spreading his wings and flying”. Vic shares his past thoughts in a passionate way; which is no different to any of the other songs on this album. The Autobiography is a great introduction to Vic Mensa, it perfectly encapsulates his persona and talent. This is a great debut that we look forward to see Vic Mensa build on.
Open up the story to Vic's tale on 'The Autobiography' below:
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