It’s been almost a year to the day since Chicago rapper, Vic Mensa’s last full length release There’s a lot going on. But Mensa returns in fine form, with the new politically charged EP, The Manuscript.
The four-track EP, released under Roc Nation Records carries an air of defiance and hope for the future, a message the 24-year-old establishes in the very first track.
Almost there is the first song on the EP, a socially critical view of Americas ties to slavery, the wealth gap in America and Vic’s own past.
He also addresses his fans directly, thanking them for their loyalty, but forewarning his new direction. The hook, (produced by Mr Hudson) is a sing-a-long chorus which only confirms Mensa’s determination to succeed; “It’s so close, I can taste it.”
OMG follows as a much more critical and heavy hitting stream of consciousness from Mensa. Again Mensa’s renowned social commentary appears, denouncing crimes of racial hatred.
“Fresh out the cell to the booth, drop the Dylan Roof, I’m still in the hood, tell Zimmerman Shoot.”
Referencing the racially motivated attacks of Dylan Roof and George Zimmerman.
Musically, the track is hypnotising, the repeating electric guitar makes it feel like the song is spinning around you, with Mensa laying down some hard truths.
Rollin’ Like a Stoner comes at the perfect time on the ep to provide a break from the politically charged onslaught.
This track is the stand out musically and lyrically.
It is more a party track than a stream of consciousness, that feels almost like the party at the end of a long day.
The messages voiced by Vic are tied up in the final track, Rage.
A piano led intro references the poetry of Dylan Thomas, and rich verses filled with signature cultural references highlight Mensa’s frustration, but determination to break through it.
The Manuscript is a poignant insight into American culture, and the racial problems it has experienced in the past few years which has also been the topic focused on by Hip-Hop’s top seed, Kendrick Lamar in his 2015 single, an impassioned condemnation of the Ferguson Police killings of unarmed civilians, The Blacker the Berry.
Vic Mensa addresses this and provides a more positive and determined outlook on the future, something we could all do with right now.
Listen to Vic Mensa – The Manuscript, below: