On July 28, 2017, Roc Nation’s and Chicago’s own Vic Mensa released his debut studio album: The Autobiography. Even though I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the rise of Vic Mensa since his ‘Kids These Days’ days, I was [still] nowhere near prepared for this project. Simply put, it’s fire and it’s sill on repeat.
Didn’t I tell you to listen to this album? Didn’t I? Didn’t I? Say I didn’t. No seriously, when listening to a project for the first time, I always listen in its entirety and in its natural order. (Hint.) Say I Didn’t was the perfect attention grabber, because I was hooked right away. Memories on 47th Street had me wishing I grew up on 47th Street instead of 113th. (Not really, because Wild Hunnids, but I’m still going to sing my heart out to the chorus while riding around the South Side, so… it works.) Rollin’ Like a Stoner is basically the turn up song that I didn’t know I needed, and I’ll leave it at that because I too am a Rockstar with a problem that nobody knows. Thankfully I’m single, so no Homewrecker (feat. Weezer) problems over here, but I’m pretty sure I created the music video in my head. And speaking of crazy, Gorgeous (feat. Syd) is my jam! *insert New New gif* Again, infidelity isn’t my thing, but the piano gave me life and I sing my heart out like it is, so I’ll look past it. Heaven on Earth (feat. The-Dream) paints a picture that most of us know all too well, but can often have trouble articulating. The three person/letter account of the incident was chilling, and adding fellow Chicago native Dreezy, was perfect. I don’t think anyone wants to be able to relate to the track, but for those of us that do, the Card Cracker (Skit) was the perfect comedic relief. I probably laughed way harder than intended, but the Love Sosa track in the background and Gluten Free Harold’s had me in tears. Down for Some Ignorance (Ghetto Lullaby) [feat. Chief Keef & Joey Purp] is also a banger, and while I’m not about that life, if I was, I would definitely put this in rotation with Faneto when in route to hit a lick. (Facts.) Coffee and Cigarettes puts me in my feelings, but Vic basically hit his Rockstar Drake flow, so I’m not even mad. Wings (feat. Pharrell Williams & Saul Williams) is also a track that puts me in my feelings, but we all have our moment, so I appreciate his transparency. Heaven on Earth (Reprise) is probably the realest track in my eyes, because even though reprise means to repeat, this track gives us the most personal and intimate look into [presumably] Vic’s thoughts and internal struggles. We’ve all lost things in the fire, and The Fire Next Time lets us know that his pain became his inspiration. (See, there’s that natural order again.) This track is one of my favorites, especially when I forget who I am for a second and need a reminder that I can’t be stopped. (Boss up, King Vic.) It’s up to us to create the energy we want to give to and receive from the world, and We Could Be Free (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) reminds us of that. Remember, nobody wins when the family feuds. We all have wings and it’s up to us to fly, hence Rage (Bonus Track), which definitely sounds like an ending track and a call to action for us all. If you make it this far and still don’t know who Vic Mensa is, listen to Omg (feat. Pusha T) [Bonus Track] and he’ll tell you.
For the most part, I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews within Chicago. The only criticism that I’ve heard so far, is that some metaphors and tracks sound too [J.] Cole like. (So I wonder: does it really? Or is production similar, considering that as label mates, they probably just have similar resources, i.e. No I.D.?) Either way, this project gets the ‘HOT’ from me. I really felt like I read a book that talked about his childhood, losing loved ones to [gun] violence, heartbreak, suicidal thoughts, problems with infidelity, and alcohol and drug abuse. Not to mention, it felt truly authentic Vic: somebody that will give you these barz and these hands, all while wearing leather pants, because ‘who gone stop him?’ Exactly.
Thank you for the rebirth of the Roc, Vic.