Tag Archives: Vic Mensa

‘There’s Alot Going On’ is exactly what Vic Mensa needed

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It’s been three years since we last and first got a full-length project from Vic Mensa. So it’s fair to say that his fans deserved a new project and when that project finally came—Vic came through. There’s Alot Going On is the perfect release for Vic Mensa. The project, which serves as an hors d’oeuvre for his forthcoming debut album Traffic, is filled with soaring triumphs and glaring weaknesses.

Things get off to a hot start with the Papi Beatz produced track “Dynasty.” The song serves as a nice change of pace from the upbeat singles, like “U Mad” and “No Chill,” and finds an introspective Mensa lamenting on the days before Chicago was Chiraq, the stress of signing to a major label, and the unremitting violence that has engulfed the Southside. His last line serves as a warning to other rappers, “They should call the rap game my name. This is my game. Vic!” The song concludes with the ominous chanting of “16 shots,” the number of times that 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot by a Chicago police officer in October of 2014.

That chant leads into the album’s second song “16 Shots.” Mensa airs out his grievances toward the Chicago Police Department with an unapologetic chorus that gets straight to the point, “1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-f*ck 12!” Mensa ends the song emphatically stating, “This for Laquan on sight! When you see Van Dyke tell him I don’t bring a knife to a gun fight!” Van Dyke is the officer who murdered Laquan McDonald, who was carrying a three-inch knife.

The next two tracks on the album are easily its low points. “Danger,” the third song, seems out of place, especially after the serious nature of “16 Shots,” and the introspection of what is to follow. It would have served Mensa better as a loose single. With references to bitches and hoes and an uninspired second verse that starts off with glorifying drunk driving, it idles the progression of the project.

Next up is “New Bae” which sounds more like a rip off Young Thug or Travis Scott and showcases Mensa’s atrocious off-key singing voice. The song plays like a faux R&B hit with too many raunchy lines that lead to nowhere and a hook that sounds like every 17-year-old experimenting with auto tune.

Fortunately, those two songs are followed by “Liquor Locker” and “Shades of Blue.” “Liquor Locker,” an ode to a liquor delivery app, holds the only feature on the entire project, coming from Ty Dolla $ign. The song is a good way to begin the close out of the album as it’s laid back and sounds like a subtle, late-night, summertime hit.

“Shades of Blue” gives the tone of the project a total makeover. The piano creates a soundscape for Mensa to paint a graphic picture of the daily grind of Black America. Mensa is at his best when he raps over minimalistic production like this.

The project culminates with the title track “There’s Alot Going On.” Here, Mensa lays everything on the table; pain, addiction, mental health problems, the poisonous relationship with his ex- girlfriend, the break up of Kids These Days—his former band— and the stress of deciding which label to sign with.

Despite being just seven tracks long and having two songs that fall flat, There’s Alot Going On is just what the world needed from Vic Mensa. Any conscious listener can see the struggle through his music. That being said, his first official Rocafella debut Traffic, must be better.

Written by Jesse Wiles

Vic Mensa freestyles on Ebro in The Morning

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I have yet to listen to There’s a lot Going on, Mensa’s first full length release since his 2013 mixtape Innanetape, but if it’s anything like this I’m very excited. Artists freestyling on radio shows lately haven’t been anything to write home about and I wasn’t expecting too much from Vic Mnesa’s appearance on Ebro in The Morning, but I was wrong. Mensa goes in over Pusha T and Jay Z’s “Drug Dealer’s Anonymous” and drops a slew of nice bars. You can check it out for yourself below. Some memorable one lines are, “fuckin’ A, I dance away the pain. Don’t wanna hit the Quan I do my dab and duck a stray,” and “I’m going Wu-Tang forever. My crew bang forever. Save Money with that Rocafella, my new gang forever.”

Written by Jesse Wiles

Kanye West continuing to mix “The Life Of Pablo” is a significant step for all artists, producers and engineers

3056803-poster-p-1-the-life-of-the-life-of-pablo.jpgTired of hearing about Kanye? Well as a music producer myself, I’m not. Yes I’m a fan and yes I might be one of those kids who will sit there and try to defend Kanye to anyone who completely bashes him but so what? From a musical standpoint, what he is doing with his latest album The Life Of Pablo and “Wolves” especially, is amazing.

Yesterday, Kanye updated one of the most talked about songs, before it’s release, on Tidal. He changed quite a bit actually. The original “final mix” consisted of a song structure that went from; Kanye’s auto-tune intro/chorus,  first and only long verse, vocal interlude that slides into Frank Ocean’s outro. Ye dropped both Vic Mensa and Sia’s part from the live performances they did late last year. That is a significant amount of heard content that Kanye excluded.

Kanye West, Vic Mensa & Sia live performing “Wolves”

As an aspiring music producer and audio engineer, the fact that Kanye and only Kanye is in complete control of the final product that is being streamed on Tidal, is so amazing creatively but also a big deal for the music industry and other artists. Yes, Kanye works with a lot of people to put out this final project in the studio, but just the fact that he has the final say on how something sounds and how it is being broadcasted sonically is a huge step forward for any artist. This is something that music hubs like soundcloud and audiomack have been offering for year. But Kanye, a major label artist, is doing this through Tidal, one of three major market streaming services beside Apple Music and Spotify.

For “Wolves 2.0,” Ye adds some more drum layers, adds Vic Mensa and Sia’s part, changes a ton of vocal effects and adds some ad libs on his ending sequence. What else is crazy is that he pushed Frank Ocean’s little vocal ditty to it’s own song. This is so much music to re-engineer, mix, master, edit and manipulate three weeks after the official release.

What this means for artists, producers and engineers is this, why settle for something that you already released to the public if you still believe you could do better. A lot of people that I have worked in music with before have all expressed how musicianship is full of constant changes. Hell, this is half the reason I can’t hardly finish a song because I’m never satisfied with final mixes and song structures. I always want more and more change. If you ever have preformed live in any matter, you’ll know that no performance is the same. You are constantly adjusting almost every small detail in your sound. That is why they say music is a gift that keeps on giving.

By Kanye West continuing to change a major label release such as The Life Of Pablo, it is helping pushing the boundaries of contemporary artistry and musicianship and challenges the idea that the music that he is making is in his complete control and not in the hands of these major labels. Artists, producers and engineers keeping making music, keep updating it and never be satisfied. Because that next edit or change you want to make to a mix could be what ends up getting noticed. Who really knows?

“Wolves” is one hell of a song though no matter how many times Kanye changes it. I hope he continues to mix and changes his stuff. Who really knows what could come next??

Written by Erik Lindberg

[FRESH] Quentin Miller releases new project with Vic Mensa feature

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Quentin Miller is a pretty interesting dude. The Atlanta based rapper has multiple writing credits on If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late and was involuntarily part of the Meek Mill and Drake beef as the alleged ghostwriter on R.I.C.O.. But he puts out his own stuff too; he makes up one half the duo of WDNG Crshrs along with TheCoolisMac and has two mixtapes on Soundcloud, most recently Hey! Thanks a Lot 3. On it, Vic Mensa teams up with Miller on ‘Half,’ a very vibey track. ‘Thanks from Juicy’ is literally a goofy shout out from Juicy J to Miller, so it’s safe to say he gives his approval. Quentin Miller is an artist to keep an eye on as he’s indelibly linked to many powerhouse names and it will be interesting to see what his work will entail in the future. Listen to Hey! Thanks a Lot 3 below.

Written by Claire Miller