Vic Mensa shares his story and covers much political ground in this inwardly reflecting exposé, signalling the Chicago-born rappers first official legacy-building milestone.
“The Autobiography” is the debut studio album by American rapper Vic Mensa. Having been released on July 28 by Roc Nation and Capitol Records, the album features a slough of guest appearances. Among the list of featured artists are the likes of Weezer, Syd, The Dream, Chief Keef, Joey Purp, Pharrell Williams, Saul Williams, Ty Dolla Sign, and Pusha T. The album was also released for streaming a week prior to its release date via NPR – a privately and publicly funded non-profit membership media organization in the United States.
It’s been a busy two months for executive producer NO I.D., who also worked on the recent Jay Z and Vince Staples albums. “The Autobiography” captures Vic finding comfort in revelling on his growth from a boy to a man.
Vic Mensa explains the concept behind “The Autobiography” during an interview with Rap-Up, saying:
“It’s a human album. It explores my humanity, mainly, and I leave that to the listener to make parallels to themselves. When I say that the album is my blood, sweat, and tears, and everything I’ve learned up to this point – it’s because it literally is.”
Vic Mensa opens with a soliloquy on “Say I Didn’t“, a soulful ballad produced by Smoko Ono, Papi Beatz, NO I.D., Carter Lang, and Vic Mensa himself. Vic flaunts his affiliation with Roc Nation, boasting, “Didn’t I tell you this was the new birth of the Roc?” Featuring a sample of Darondo’s “Didn’t I“; “Say I Didn’t” discusses an array of childhood friends and parents, and finds Vic backtracking to his Chicago roots – a town which plays the muse in this debut.
The albums lead single, “Wings” has Saul Williams and Pharrell Williams crashing into the scene. Produced by Pharrell, Mensa describes “Wings” as an “Introduction to Victor, not Vic Mensa”, where he touches on issues regarding mental health and battles with drug addiction.
A favourite off the album is “Gorgeous”, produced by 1500 or Nothin’ and NO I.D. and featuring layered vocals from Syd – where Vic discusses a comically romantic situation involving two women and equally appreciating them both with no conclusion on what to do.
The liberating protest of Vic Mensa’s debut album is cause for celebration in itself, given the very extensive wait. However, “The Autobiography” does lack the explosive exuberance that skyrocketed Vic’s promising 2013 “Innanetape” mixtape. The rapper does still manage though to deliver an album that fine tunes who he is as a person, and is also a smoke signal of his bright future as one of the more impactful artists in hip-hop.
Take some time out to have a listen and let us know what you think!