Vic Mensa Talks His Upcoming Album, Collaborating with Pharrell, and His Social Media Hiatus

Vic Mensa Talks His Upcoming Album, Collaborating with Pharrell, and His Social Media Hiatus

VMAN sat down with Chicago based rapper before his set at Full Moon Festival.

VMAN sat down with Chicago based rapper before his set at Full Moon Festival.

Photography: Emma Blanchard

The Manuscript is an introduction to your album, which you said is coming this summer? Can you give us any details on the upcoming release of your new work?

It’s very personal and honest. It’s not so much topical in a political way as it is just really about my life and my experiences. Through that, people will be able to grasp my worldview and some of my bigger ideas while I talk about some of my smaller experiences.

Your video of OMG just dropped, can you speak on the conceptual decisions in the video itself? I understand you helped direct it. 

It was dope. We were in Chicago. I was really trying to capture the energy of hood, skateboard, and aggression. Chicago can be a very aggressive place so it was kind of interesting at times but I think we got our point across.


Your past work has been very socially and politically conscious. The political climate is very different than it was upon the release of your last major album. Can we expect to hear songs that touch on the changes and shift of power in the US?

It’s not so much political in a topical sense. It’s about me and it’s about my experiences in a very vivid, narrative way. It’s really really about my experiences strictly but you can also gather my bigger ideas and my political viewpoints. I played my sister the album and I was saying how it's not political, but she was said that the personal is always political if it’s real and if it’s true. And this album is very true.

You took a significant hiatus from social media, what prompted that decision?

I just felt like I didn’t want to engage. I didn’t want to open myself up to be influenced by a lot of invisible people. I was more focusing on making and finishing this album. The whole time I was making this album I wasn’t really on social media. I was just focused on making music, and living a real life in the real world and not really wasting my time on the Internet.

Who has inspired your work the most?

I think the people in the stories of my life inspire this work the most. This is really about me and them. It's about us. It's about people in Chicago, it's about people struggling, relationships, people dealing with drugs and all types of issues that everyday people face. Those people are who inspired this more than anything, more than any artist or any icon or anything.

Can you speak on your experience of collaborating with Pharell? I know he was on the Manuscript and is also said to be on your upcoming album?

Pharell did a record “OMG” on the capsule and he also did another record on the album. That record is called “Wings” and is one of my favorite records. It was inspiring and a learning experience. It was also a coming of age type of thing working with Pharrell. I’ve always been such a huge fan of Pharrell so being in the studio with him and making music that reflects everything that I loved about Pharrell’s music growing up really felt like a step into my time as an artist. It felt like a time that I was really coming to the forefront.

What message do you hope that young people will take away from your new music?

I can’t really say that there is a specific message. I would say it's okay, to be honest, and that it’s a strength to be vulnerable. Maybe people might not be so guarded at all times because my album is very vulnerable. Something that I’ve learned is that it's impossible to grow and learn from the past if you can't be real about it. Maybe my album will inspire young artists to be honest and to be real and to not be afraid to tell their truth.


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