Multi-platinum selling, GRAMMY-nominated rapper/producer Vic Mensa has just released his long-awaited sophomore album VICTOR via Roc Nation. Executive produced by BongoByTheWay and largely self-produced in sessions stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles to Ghana and beyond, the album is the product of a two year period of inward reflection and newfound sobriety for the accomplished MC. “This album is a story of redemption; trial and triumph, pain & glory,” states Mensa. “It was forged from the rubble of a bad crash, literally and metaphorically, and follows my journey into spirituality, a return to Chicago, a return to Ghana and a rediscovery of myself.” The album’s themes are brought further to focus by the cover artwork, a life-sized painting by Terron Cooper Sorrells , which reimagines Mensa as Osiris, the Egyptian God of the Dead who was torn apart and stitched by together by his wife Isis, a parallel to Mensa’s own quest for redemption where he has taken stock of his role in the setbacks and trials he’s faced while working inwardly and outwardly to try to affect positive change through social work, sobriety, and delving into his cultural roots traveling to and working in Ghana.
Vic will celebrate the album’s release tonight in Chicago with a special hometown event labeled “The Mensa Melee” in which Vic will set up a ring and put on a boxing exhibition soundtracked by the album- a listening event without parallel. The event was hinted at in a video Vic posted to his socials on Wednesday, with Omari Hardwick coaching Vic in a boxing ring while reciting “Sunday Morning Intro” – his monologue that opens the album. Next he will decamp to California to perform as direct support for longtime friend Chance the Rapper at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium this coming Thursday, September 21.
The album was preceded by a prolific run of singles, including the Virgil Abloh-homage “Strawberry Louis Vuitton (feat.Thundercat & Maeta),” whose accompanying video featured Vic performing the song while skydiving; his reunion with longtime collaborators Chance the Rapper and G-Eazy “$WISH”; his love letter to Chicago House music “Eastside Girl (feat. Ty Dolla $ign);” “Blue Eyes,”a deeply personal track in which Vic breaks down the internalized insecurities he experienced growing up biracial while addressing the toxicity of Euro-centric beauty standards; and most recently “LVLN UP,”which premiered as part of the NFL and Roc Nation’s Songs of the Season initiative through the NFL’s Inspire Change social justice platform. In addition to the aforementioned guests the album also includes features from Omari Hardwick, Jay Electronica, Common, Rapsody, DIXSON, Lekan, Ant Clemons, D Smoke, and Mr. Hudson. Full track list below.
VICTOR arrives during a period of tremendous activity and progress for the Chicago-based artist. In January his longtime focus on deepening his ties with the Ghanaian musical community culminated in his and Chance The Rapper’s Black Star Line Festival in Accra, a free one-day festival that drew a staggering 52,000 attendees with performances by Ghanaian mainstays like Sarkodie and Stonebwoyin addition to international acts including T-Pain, Erykah Badu, Jeremih, and his own widely heralded and rapturously received performance. Last year Vic launched 93 Boyz, which became the first Black-owned cannabis company in the state of Illinois, whose mission statement includes allocating a portion of their profits to advance social causes such as his Books Before Bars initiative, which has distributed hundreds of books to underserved correctional facilities.
1. Sunday Morning Intro (feat. Omari Hardwick)
4. LVLN UP
5. The Weeping Poets (feat. Jay Electronica)
7. $WISH (feat. G-Eazy & Chance The Rapper)
8. sunset on the low end
9. STRAWBERRY LOUIS VUITTON (feat. Thundercat & Maeta)
10. $outhside Story (feat. Common)
11. Law of Karma
12. Blue Eyes
13. Blue Eyes (Interlude) (feat. Rapsody)
14. Sunday Evening Reprise (feat. DIXSON & Lekan)
15. all i kno
16. Ble$$ings (feat. Ant Clemons & D Smoke)
17. 14 Days (feat. Mr. Hudson)
18. Eastside Girl (feat. Ty Dolla $ign) (Bonus Track)
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