The Chicago native sat down for a lengthy profile with Paper, in which he spoke heavily about his creative and personal journey to this point. Going back to Ghana, where his father’s family still resides, has been vital. “I’ve been able to build some pretty phenomenal things using that privilege and treat it as an opportunity to play that role to be the bridge between Black America and Africa,” Mensa said.
While the There’s A Lot Going On artist has been striving towards bettering himself on all fronts, he did touch upon a recent moment, a clip where he publicly called out media personality DJ Akademiks for exploitation of the Chicago drill scene, and violence re-emerged. Mensa said it came from a personal connection.
“Because a kid that I grew up with and went to karate with when we were five years old ended up being a street n***a, gang banging, etcetera. He was also a very talented rapper. When he got killed, there was music involved, there were big drill artists involved, and I heard about it on Akademiks’ parasitic platform. So that’s why I was upset,” he said.
Mensa prefaced that by speaking at length about the differences between the emerging drill scene in Ghana and what already exists in Chicago. “Their music largely reflects their realities, which are not the same as American drill realities. Ghana is a very peaceful place. People don’t get killed like that. There’s a lot of struggle though, so their music is rooted in struggle,” he remarked.
The former Ye collaborator also spoke about his commitment to sobriety, which helped him confront various moments in his past and recalibrate his relationships. He also discussed how he’s come to accept being labeled a conscious rapper. “I can never be mad at the idea of being a conscious rapper. The truth is just that I’m a multifaceted person,” Mensa said.
Vic Mensa also spoke about his foray into punk music and how he and Chance The Rapper linked up along with Erykah Badu and other artists to organize and perform at the Black Star Line Festival that took place in January.
Photo: Momodu Mansaray / Getty
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