Vic Mensa returns with Victor, marking a bold evolution in his career, all while staying true to his roots and his unwavering commitment to social causes. Guests include Common, Thundercat and Maeta.
In a digital era dominated by imitation for the sake of likes and follows, Vic Mensa has remained a steadfast advocate for authenticity. His unwavering commitment to being himself has shaped a career that spans over a decade and continues to gain momentum. With his second full-length album, Victor, Mensa is poised to take his career to new heights.
Throughout his journey, Mensa has been a fearless voice on both narrow and broad issues, never shying away from expressing his opinions. On this new album, he embodies the boldness of his youth while maintaining a refined understanding of the world. From his early years as a high school student, Mensa recognized the intersection of music and politics in his hometown of Chicago. He actively supported teachers' unions, spoke out against police violence, and led protests, making his presence felt on the front lines from day one. This dynamic connection between his music and his activism has been a cyclical source of inspiration.
Mensa's musical evolution has been marked by an exploration of sounds, genres, and expressions. From his days fronting a high school band, venturing into the dance and electronic music, to the gritty, dark undertones of his releases from 2017 onwards, he has become a multidimensional artist.
In 2020 and 2021, Mensa's artistic growth reached a new pinnacle with the release of his deeply personal V Tape and I Tape. These projects followed a whirlwind beginning to his career, including North American and European tours, a signing with Roc Nation, and memorable performances alongside artists like Sia and Kanye West on Saturday Night Live. These experiences prompted Mensa to explore music with a more meaningful tone, ultimately finding redemption as a central theme.
The cornerstone of Victor is the track "Law of Karma," which encapsulates Mensa's belief in the power of self-reflection for personal growth. As a harsh self-critic, the artist has matured between projects, embracing a more focused and contemplative approach to his work. Meanwhile, "Strawberry Louis Vuitton," which features Thundercat and Maeta, draws inspiration from the late Chicago fashion designer and entrepreneur, Virgil Abloh. Mensa explains, "When Virgil passed away, I kind of felt like he had given this song to me; the gift that keeps on giving, in a way."
Following in Abloh's entrepreneurial footsteps, Mensa has extended his reach far beyond his hometown. Partnering with close friend Chance the Rapper, they organized the Black Star Line Festival in Accra, Ghana, in the fall of 2022. This free event, featuring Erykah Badu, Tobe Nwigwe, and more, drew over 52,000 fans and garnered attention from major networks like BET and MTV.
Mensa's commitment to helping others is deeply ingrained in his work. In 2017, he founded the Save Money, Save Life Foundation, which has made advocating for fellow humans a central mission. The foundation's programs, such as Street Medix, empower young Chicagoans to learn basic EMT and triage skills. Additionally, Mensa has supported Books Before Bars, a nonprofit that provides books to Illinois prisons with Mensa himself making book deliveries when he can.
As Vic Mensa embarks on the latest chapter of his life, he does so with a carefully nuanced understanding of the world. Whether manifesting in his daily actions, electrifying stage performances, or everything in between, one thing remains constant: Vic Mensa will always be unapologetically himself.