“It’s like Macklemore at the Grammys, man
I just feel like you got some sh*t you didn’t deserve”
Album: The Autobiography
Artist: Vic Mansa
Genre: Hip hop, Rap
Release Date: July 28, 2017
I didn’t know much about Vic Mansa going into this album. I remember hearing and vibing with his feature on the track Go With It from 2015’s Ego Death, an album by the band, The Internet. Through that track, he captured me with his high energy and his diverse wordplay all on a spectacular and nostalgic beat. It was then I knew that I had to dive into Vic’s discography just to see what else he can bring to the table of hip hop.
Originally, Mansa had plans for an album named Traffic, however, that ended up being scrapped for the current project here. He explained himself with the quote below.
It’s a human album, it explores my humanity, mainly, and I leave that to the listener to make parallels to themselves. When I say that the album is my blood, sweat, and tears, and everything I’ve learned up to this point, it’s just because it literally is.https://www.rap-up.com/2017/07/27/vic-mensa-talks-the-autobiography-jay-z-chance-the-rapper/
True to his words and the album’s title, the Chicago rapper has no problems opening up to his listeners throughout the entirety of his debut. He details various aspects of his home city and the events that had led him to start his rap career.
Starting with the first track, “Say I Didn’t”, Mansa raps in an excited, “I told you so” tone of voice as he speaks on the fact that he has constantly told friends and family how successful he would be one day. He also reminisces on the people most important to him and how he has remained loyal to them even after blowing up. All done on a soulful sample of “Didn’t I” by Darondo.
“Memories on 47th St.” transports us back in time as Mansa weaves through his childhood with lines such as: “At age 12 I learned the difference between white and black, police pulled me off of my bike, I landed on my back, back to reality, oops, a victim of gravity”. This verse (while cleverly referencing Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”), displays Mensa’s want for storytelling in his music. For the most part, he does a good job at this. Unfortunately, he does tend to stumble more than a few times through his music.
Lines such as, “They say “Vic, are you okay?”, Dude no way, I don’t even know no more” on the track “Rollin’ Like a Stoner”, comes off as cheesy and halfbaked. “Homewrecker”, while better a lot less clumsy than the former, still has spotty lyrics: “I screamed back like, please stay in the bathroom, whatever you do, do not leave the bathroom”. However, these clunky bars are far and few inbetween.
My personal favorite track, “Gorgeous” continues Mansa’s personal narrative as he details more on his past relationship with his ex. With singer Syd on the chorus and gorgeous (sorry) production, this song serves as one of the several highlights of not just this album, but Mansa’s entire career. Speaking of production, the beats throughout the 15 tracks are glorious. That’s to be expected with big names such as Pharrell and No I.D. behind the boards.
There’s some room for improvement for the young rapper, but Vic Mansa has shown tremendous potential. He wants to make a name for himself. “We Could Be Free” is the perfect example of this, delivering personal and political lyrics on a lush and soulful production. I look forward to seeing where his career goes after this album.