Published Sep 30, 2013Although this is his debut mixtape, Vic Mensa is no newcomer. Until earlier this year, he was the frontman for recently dissolved Chicago, IL hybrid groove act Kids These Days, who caused a buzz big enough for Wilco's Jeff Tweedy to produce most of their only album. Now, as a solo artist, Innanetape provides the first opportunity for Mensa to fully flex his rapid-fire, outside-the-margins flow and tendency to float hook-laden, melodic vocals into the mix. The Chicago MC has garnered comparisons to fellow Windy City resident Chance the Rapper, but it turns out the two are close friends and affiliates of the SAVEMONEY collective. While fans get to compare the two MCs' flows as they appear side by side on Innanetape's "Tweakin'," Mensa favours jazzier vibes, in contrast to Chance's blues-dipped, Southern-influenced style. This is evident on effortless, laidback fare like "Hollywood L.A.," and infectious single "Orange Soda." Mensa isn't afraid to experiment sonically either, tapping the talents of soul and R&B mavericks Thundercat, Kenna and Jesse Boykins III, at various points. "Lovely Day" sports a broken beat that could have emerged from West London a few years back; it's the perfect foil for Mensa's unorthodox flow, reminiscent of the spirit of his Kids These Days phase. "Run" and "Yap Yap" indulge Mensa's esoteric side, which is only occasionally guilty of having too many open browser windows. Mensa's creative hunger is evident throughout, and is possibly a by-product of the appreciation of his opportunity. Mensa's lyrics constantly refer to an accident where he fell off a bridge and got electrocuted trying to sneak into Lollapalooza. On "Time is Money," he rides a stark beat provided by Toronto's Boi-1da to address maturity and mortality against the backdrop of Chicago's headline-grabbing violence, a topic he delves into even further on the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League-scored "Holy Holy." On the evidence of Innanetape, Mensa (aka Yung Netscape) defies the defunct nature of his alter ego and is definitely still around for a reason, poised to realize his potential.
Read more about Vic Mensa's debut mixtape by clicking here. (Independent)