#5 Mixtape of The Year: Vic Mensa- INNANETAPE

Posted: December 31, 2013 by ericbernsen in Album Reviews, Music
Tags: , , ,

In 2012, I had no idea who Vic Mensa was. At the end of 2013, I consider the 19 year-old one of the most talented rising stars in hip-hop after the release of his mixtape titled INNANETAPE. The Chicago native was a member of the hyped-up group Kids These Days that also included Chance The Rapper (the comparisons will be endless), but before they officially blew up to the masses the group dissolved. With the release of INNANETAPE, Vic has officially brought the audience into his world through his sharp lyrics, genre-bending vocal abilities, and a strong ear for lively production.

Despite the fact that Vic has achieved a strong level of success considering his age, this project more so portrays the young artist reflecting on life in his violent hometown of Chicago. Although his city has become one of the most violent urban areas in the country, much of the music on INNANETAPE is uplifting and filled with positive vibes (“Lovely Day”). Nevertheless, Vic is certainly not living in a dream world as he lyrically tackles the issues of turmoil and poverty that plague his city, A standout track on the project that has Vic at his most introspective is “Time is Money” in which Vic rhymes about the sense of hopelessness that has surrounded him in the past. The production by Boi-1da sets the scene nicely for Vic who conveys a strong message to the youth on how determination can overtrump the worst of conditions.

While Vic does focus on dense subject matters throughout the mixtape, there are plenty of moments in which his stream-of-consciousness flow shines. Tracks like “Tweakin” featuring old friend Chance The Rapper demonstrate how Vic can use a variety of deliveries on the drop of dime with a consistently skilled level of wordplay. One minute Vic appears as the innocent kid reminiscing on not too long ago childhood, the next he will be rapping his off with fierce lyrical punches that are mature beyond his years. Vic’s hunger is 100% present on the INNANETAPE (“YNSP”) without the necessity of him sounding angry or vengeful. In fact, arguably the greatest strength throughout the project are the catchy hooks and melodies.

What elevates the mixtape from an awesome free release to an album worthy body of work is the rich innovative production. Whether it is smooth cuts like “Hollywood LA” and “Holy Holy” or the more hard hitting  “Yap Yap”, the beats on the project are an appropriate canvas for Vic’s imagery and diverse lyrical themes. The INNANETAPE has a wide range of sounds, yet still maintains an overall cohesive vibe that allows Vic to properly introduce himself to the hip-hop world. Vic is not controlled by a particular style and has a natural ability to sound engagingly upbeat while doing so in a conscious manner. INNANETAPE is simultaneously fun, interesting, and an ambitious listen that is an impressive building block for the Chicago emcee. Vic Mensa can do more than rap well or effectively harmonize, he can build songs with strong substance and with this body of work as a foundation, my expectations for Vic are sky high in 2014.

Listen to INNANETAPE below and let us know what you think of the review/rating!

  1. That Nikkuh says:

    This is stupid dope. Twerkin’ is insane. the album is dope. TAP INTO MY FREQUENCY

  2. […] on the rise that we are huge fans of here at Hip To The Game. Mensa’s Innanetape project was one of our favorite releases from last year and since then the buzz has only continued to grow for the Chicago up-and-comer. We have heard some […]

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