You’d be forgiven for wondering where the real Vic Mensa was for the past few years. After the release of his critically hailed but commercially underperforming debut album The Autobiography, it may have seemed like the 2014 XXL Freshman had gone a little off the rails, appearing more often on TMZ than on streaming services’ curated playlists and veering off into his rock-centric side project 93Punx. He even got into a little hot water over his 2018 BET Hip-Hop Awards Cypher verse, calling out the recently deceased XXXTentacion as a domestic abuser.
But this New Music Friday, longtime Vic Mensa fans received a gift they’d been waiting on for years. V Tape, Vic’s first all-rap project since 2018’s Hooligans EP, finds the outspoken Chicago rapper running back to rap with a vengeance, showing flashes of the hungry young artist from 2013’s Innanetape, polished by years of experience and maturity. Featuring brazen tracks like “Vendetta” and “Dirt On My Name” alongside vulnerable confessionals such as “XGames” and “Rebirth,” Vic addresses, well, all the criticisms and missteps of the last few years, putting everything on front street with a newfound clarity and lightness that comes with age and surviving life’s storms. It’s his best work in years. Welcome back, Vic.
Watch Vic Mensa’s video for EP single “Machiavelli” featuring Eryn Allen Kane above.
V Tape is out now via Roc Nation Records. Get it here.