Vic Mensa: I’m glad to be doing what I always wanted to do, and having full creative control of the music that I make. I think that I get to show a lot more of myself as a solo artist and I’m just mad excited for the world to hear the Innanetape project I’ve been working on, because I think it’s definitely going to fuck some people’s heads up.
XXL: In Kids These Days, did you feel like you couldn’t speak your mind the way you wanted to?
Vic Mensa: No, I mean – I’m the type of person to always speak my mind, you know? And I think that partially led to the group’s breakup. I’m just a really strong-willed and opinionated person, and I have a lot of ideas, and I’m not the only one. But there were things that I did, I was trying… I was just over-trying. I did some things that weren’t appreciated because I wanted to let other people have their creative say. But nobody wants to be doing things that aren’t appreciated, and no one wants to feel stifled when making music. Music is about being free, and we just kind of grew apart.
XXL: How was the split? Was it amicable or was it like, “I hate you and never want to talk to you again”?
Vic Mensa: It’s never going to be an “I hate you” type of situation. For the most part it’s a happy settlement. There were certain moves made by some people that weren’t all the way stand-up moves, but at the end of the day there isn’t really any bad blood. It’s not like I can’t be in the room with everybody in the band, and I wish everybody the best. But the band breaking up wasn’t my ultimatum, I didn’t bring that to the table, but once it was brought to the table it kind of opened up a world I’d already been living in in my own head for a while. I just see it as a great opportunity. Kids These Days was great and it was a lot of fun, but now I want to do something different. And I produce now, too.
So after reading that (and there's more in the interview), I no longer feel sad. Band breakups happen for a reason, and yes, all the time as well. I'm happy for Vic that he feels in a more free and creative place to make new and authentic music. With the talent each member of the group demonstrated during its successful 4-year run that included performances at Dwyane Wade's Chicago Has Talent Showcase, Lollapalooza, and Conan, I'm sure that everyone in the band will take the next step in their own musical journey and achieve their own success in a different way than any of us could imagine. Plus, I think Traphouse Rock will continue to stand the test of time and be a project that many of us (yours truly included) will come back to.
Also in the interview, Vic Mensa revealed new details about his full-fledged solo career. The next project is called the Innanetape, and it will be "more representative of me than anything I’ve ever put out." Plus, as he said above he produces now, including the new video/song release today called "Did It B4" (below). Vic spits some cutting lines aimed at other rappers throughout a fast-paced, and mind-bending visual, with some dope editing in the cemetary scenes especially (well-known Chicago director Austin Vesely is behind the lens). *Tibs Fav.
Vic Mensa "Did It B4" [Music Video]
Lastly, I'll conclude this post with the conclusion of the XXL interview, where I found myself proudly nodding my head in agreement. Good stuff from Vic in both the interview and video!
XXL: Fader just released a photo essay on violence in Chicago, and I feel like you, Chance, and the Save Money crew represent a different, positive side of the city from the violence that’s been going on recently. Do you feel a certain responsibility to keep your city safe through positive music?
Vic Mensa: To tell you the truth, on the most basic level, I just feel a responsibility to keep myself and my family safe, and the ones around me. My shit is really like that, you know? So before trying to be Superman, I just try to tell my homies and my people – like, we come from the Southside and it’s a terrible place – to get the fuck up out of there. Don’t spend too much time around what’s going on in our city right now, because it’s not what you want to get lost in. But within the music, I think that music is so influential to the youth, so through offering something different we definitely have an opportunity to bring some sunlight to what sometimes seems like an endless dark day.
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"Enlightenment for a wave in the ocean is the moment the wave realizes that it is water."
~Thich Nhat Hanh (From the book Living Buddha, Living Christ)