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Stars & Hype Forever: Vic Mensa

Stars & Hype Forever: Vic Mensa

Stars & Hype Forever is your in-depth guide to what’s next in hip hop. Each week we profile an artist you need to know about, first up we have SaveMoney’s Vic Mensa.

Photo of Vic Mensa for Mass Appeal's Stars & Hype Forever interview. Photo by Winston Blake.

On Being a Badass Kid

“I was always a little badass kid who liked to have fun, run around the neighborhood, throw water balloons at people off the train tracks, and climb on rooftops. I think I peed on somebody off a rooftop. That was the most bogus shit I ever did.”

From a young age Mensa was eager to leave his mark on the world, even if it meant breaking the rules. “When I got to be eleven years old I was doing mad graffiti. We had this fake little graffiti crew called TTT which was “Taggers Tagging Things.” We really thought we were doing little graffiti missions in class. I went and wrote TTT on this little sign my teacher had set up. She turned around and saw the shit. She was like, “Did you do that?” I said, “Yeah I did it, but I didn’t do the rest of it.” Yo, she went immediately and got the fucking Principal. They had me in the mini holding cell interrogating me, they said, “If you tell us who else did it with you none of you guys will get suspended, we just want to know.” Rather than get suspended for five days myself, I just turned in all my homies and we all got suspended.”

Vic Mensa interview for Mass Appeal's Stars & Hype Forever. Photo by Winston Blake.

On Growing Up in Chicago

Living all of his life in one of the most metropolitan cities in America, Mensa’s musical journey began in his hometown of Chicago. “The record store we went to also sold spray paint and markers, but under the counter, on the low. And we were like eleven years-old and would go up there, buy albums, buy spray paint and then get caught for writing on sh*t. So that’s how I got into rap.”

“All the different influences pushing and pulling in Chicago influenced my pen on the daily. Since I was a graffiti kid I was all over the city. I lived in the South Side, but I went to school in the North Side for some time, so I’d be riding buses and trains to all sides of the city, and I was just seeing a lot in the city. Chicago influenced the sh*t out of me.”

On The Internet

“You’re talking to the internet, on the internet, about the internet. That’s like an internet overload, the shit gon’ crash.” Today’s internet generation of music fans grew up with the world at their fingertips. “LimeWire raised my generation, you know what I’m saying. I don’t just mean LimeWire the program but the introduction of file sharing and the turn of the tides in music becoming accessible to anyone.”

The ability to access history with the click of a button allowed Mensa to expose himself to so much more music than what was available in local Chicago stores. “My favorite beat ever made is ‘So Far To Go.’ It’s a Common joint with D’Angelo on the hook and it’s a beat made by Dilla, that’s on the Donuts album, and I found that on LimeWire. That was life changing.”

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