At only twenty-four, Vic Mensa is already an established member of the Chicago music scene and a social justice activist—from protesting his hometown police department after the shooting of shooting of Laquan McDonald to flying to Standing Rock and joining with the protestors to fight against allowing construction the Dakota Access Pipeline, he’s made his political feelings known.
Now, Mensa is releasing his debut album, The Autobiography (via Roc Nation), a work that tackles his personal experiences of love, loss, addiction, and depression but also takes on the political situation of America today.
I think first of all my purpose is to be me. I didn’t come here to specifically be a role model or anything. But as me, as somebody that from age sixteen, I was reading Malcolm X and reading Huey Newton, my album The Autobiography is inspired by The Autobiography of Malcolm X. So I’m a person that’s just informed, you know? Informed by some of the greatest thinkers, and started making music and spreading my voice, from people like Tupac and Common.
With that knowledge I feel comes power, and with that power comes responsibility. I feel that my purpose is to shed light on some of the darker sides of our world, and to lend a hand and a voice to people struggling. I think that people are in pain all across this nation right now, and they’re taking it out on each other. They’re taking it out on Mexicans, they’re taking it out on Muslims, we’re taking our frustrations out on frustrated people in middle America. They have disdain for us, and we’re all misled. Everybody’s just hurting and lashing out. I wanna be a voice that can unify. And I want to make music that a man in rural Pennsylvania, if he opens his mind and just listens to some of my story, can maybe change his perspective on black people. On rap music. On young black people, on the youth, on urban culture.
Check out the videos for “Rage” and “OMG,” both off the new album, below.