Review: Vic Mensa - I Been
Vic Mensa roars back on I Been.
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Prominent acts fast-rising from the Illinois City include Chance the Rapper, Mick Jenkins and of course, Vic Mensa, who recently inked a Roc Nation Deal which shocked the game. Vic topped off this feat by grabbing Kanye West for his debut single under the imprint, “U Mad”, which highlights his impressive moves in such a short space of time since his second mixtape (2013) – INNAENETAPE.
Following “U Mad”, Vic has been releasing freestyles to his Soundcloud, the fourth being “I Been” which is a clap back to all those acting as if he’s a fresh act to the game. The track, in the same confrontational tone as “U Mad” displays that Vic is not the one to lay down and ignore haters.
“Oh what a pleasant surprise, you wanna be down now”. Vic keeps it all the way clear on the intro to I been, over a slightly techno and synthesized production, he calls out all the “studio actors” which are now only in his life due to the recent critical acclaim of INNANETAPE and in-particular the Jay-Z endorsement.
As soon as the drop of the intro takes off, Vic launches into a repetition of the same line “I been doing this sh*t” and reminds the newbies that he’s very prominent in both the Chicago rap-universe and Hip-hop scene as a whole.
“I been cruising this year, old ****’s stressed, bunch of grey hairs”. Vic has never been one to play it safe and he isn’t letting up anytime soon, as his verse progresses he embodies the same confident character demonstrated on the “U Mad” single. The chi-town MC warns that “It ain’t safe ‘round here”, referencing his rapid rise to prominence which is intensifying by the day.
Vic Mensa has another message for the newbies who are now cosying up to him “Anything else but the squad f that” he boasts mid-second verse. Mensa refuses to abandon those who’ve been a part of his hustle since the beginning (people such as his previous band Kids These Days for instance). This line also hints at the Chicago way of life, the gang heavy culture in the suburbs of the city, part of the reason that Chicago is nicknamed Chiraq.
The Roc-Nation signee closes the freestyled number almost singing “I ain’t new no no no” before again repeating the infamous “I been doing this sh*t”, before the edgy Smoko Ono and Mike Dean production reaches conclusion.
Although “I Been” is merely a freestyle and has no real progression in terms of production and topic focus, Vic echo’s a clear and coherent message, that he’s here to stay and isn’t a newbie to this game.
Indeed, he is two mixtapes deep right now and has been involved in several tours both support and solo and both domestic and international. This freestyle also carves a hint at the kind of artist Vic is, one which is controversial, outspoken and talented over very limited production. This freestyle is intriguing and leaves the listener wondering just how far Vic’s capabilities reach.
Vic Mensa is certainly one to watch in the upcoming months.