Exclusive: Vic Mensa Talks Injustice, Debut Album, and Jay Z & Beyoncé

Vic Mensa packed his “Back with a Vengeance” show in Los Angeles on Thursday (Aug. 4) with a series of powerful moments.

One of the most memorable happened at the end of “16 Shots,” an ode to Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police in Chicago last year. While fans heard about McDonald’s death, Vic fell to the ground as if he had been shot. He stayed there, lying motionless. In a word, it was chilling.

A couple of hours before the show, as the sun was setting on L.A.’s famed Sunset Strip, the 23-year-old Roc Nation spitter sat backstage at The Roxy, getting his hair cut. There, he spoke exclusively with Rap-Up about “16 Shots” and his views on injustice in this country. After all, this was just hours after he says LAPD officers harassed him in nearby Beverly Hills.

But beyond social issues, Vic also discussed other topics that have surrounded his buzzing career of late, including his relationships with Kanye West, Jay Z, and Beyoncé, who have collaborated with Mensa and/or taken him under their megastar wings. Plus, he opened up about his highly-anticipated debut album, which might just feature more of these powerful moments he keeps creating.

Vic Mensa

Where were you when you wrote “16 Shots” and where are you today when you think of that?

“16 Shots” specifically was inspired by my time in the streets of Chicago after the murder of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke. In those rallies, I was hearing “16 shots” because that’s how many times they shot Laquan. I just had “and we buckin’ back” in my mind as a hook idea. I sat on it for a while. That was in the fall of 2015. Then, in February of 2016, when I made the music that’s on There’s Alot Going On, I was writing a lot of records and Papi Beatz had this skeleton of a beat that had marching band drums on it. It made me think about when we were marching through the streets so I just took myself to that place and described everything that I saw and felt. It was in the moment, but also a record I’ve wanted to make for eight years or something because it’s forever relevant to my life. I’ve been getting harassed and fucked with by police since I was 11 or 12 years old. Even today, we were in Beverly Hills. I went and spent a couple bands at Barneys and we get pulled over four blocks away by like three squad cars and they took us all out because they were saying we stole something. They had us sitting out there for an hour, trying to search the vehicle. So “16 Shots” is a record I’ve been wanting to make for years.

“I’ve been getting harassed and fu**ed with by police since I was 11 or 12 years old”

With that said, there were certain things I said on that record — sentiments that obviously a lot of people feel as is understandable having been beaten down and murdered by police since slavery — and some of those things kind of came true in some dangerous ways with what happened in Dallas and Baton Rouge. Really, my position in it was just as somebody speaking from the heart, not somebody who is waking up in the morning trying to be violent towards police officers. That’s police officers waking up in the morning trying to be violent towards young black men. We don’t leave the house like, “I hope I can shoot the police today.” But they do wake up trying to meet a quota: “I’m gonna drag ni**as out of their houses, out of their cars, blow their brains out next to their baby mama.” Those are things that they wake up in the morning with almost intent to do. So the things I was saying was really just resistance, less than having a mindset geared towards violence, it was a mindset bent on active resistance.

Vic Mensa

The cops that pulled us out of the car today were saying we stole some shit from a store in Beverly Hills. Obviously, we didn’t steal anything. They didn’t know what the fuck they thought we stole, asking us to search the vehicle. I’m like, “What the fuck? You think I’m gonna let you search my vehicle when you don’t even know what the fuck you’re looking for?” The whole time, you can see on my Snapchat, them trying to tell me, “We’re just doing our job. You’re the one with this attitude.” I’m like, “Yeah, I got a motherfuckin’ attitude. You bitchass ni**as have been on my ass since I was a shorty. Don’t fuckin’ talk to me if you don’t have your facts prepared.” If you don’t have your shit together, I’m not trying to hear that shit. Fuck the police.

“Shades of Blue” adds another layer of injustice that you touch on with There’s Alot Going On. What was the process behind that song?

I went to Flint, Michigan in February for a benefit concert and it was really dope being there to experience the energy of the people. I had the first couple of lines of that song ever since I heard about what was going on, but once I went down there, I sampled Stevie Wonder closing out the show. Then, when I went home the next day, I wrote the record. I like to take inspiration from real life situations so sometimes something will happen and I’ll write a record about it that day or the next day and that’s what “Shades of Blue” was like.

You were on “The Nightly Show” talking about Justin Timberlake and cultural appropriation. Do you think you were misunderstood? Can you clarify that situation?

I just felt that my comments were compartmentalized to seem as if it was about Justin Timberlake when it was really about cultural appropriation. They asked me about Justin Timberlake so the people who were at the show saw that. They took away a sense of my feelings about cultural appropriation in general. When all the online media outlets got a hold of it, all they did was make it a headline so they didn’t really have the context to it, just saying I’m attacking Justin Timberlake or something when I wasn’t attacking Justin Timberlake. But if you see, Justin Timberlake ended up tweeting something about Alton Sterling or something [about] Black Lives Matter the next week. However it goes, I think my point got across but that’s just how the internet is. They’ll just take something that you say that is a bigger idea and break it down to divert the focus from your real message to make it something that is controversial.

Vic Mensa

“Wolves” was one of the first songs you recorded with Kanye West. Take us through your journey with that song from its creation to the album changes to the video.

They flew me out to L.A. last year to work on his album. The first day I met ‘Ye, “Wolves” was pretty much the first song he played me. That was the first time I met him and I recorded “Wolves” that night. I showed it to him the next day, he liked it, but I didn’t know it was gonna end up being on [The Life of Pablo]. Then, when the fashion show happened, I got a call like an hour before, asking me to clear the record. The first time I heard it was at the [Yeezy Season 3] show. That happened, we did “SNL,” Kanye’s album didn’t come out for a long time. The Frank Ocean part already existed. I think it was probably a Frank Ocean thing. It is what it is. I didn’t like not being on it, but obviously everybody else didn’t like me not being on it either. And you know Kanye’s album process is very unique and way scattered. It’s off the wall so you never really know what the fuck.

“Kanye’s album process is very unique and way scattered. It’s off the wall so you never really know what the fu**k”

Vic Mensa

Let’s talk about your music. After There’s Alot Going On, what can fans expect from your debut album?

Lyrically, the records that I have for my album take after subject matter and delivery of the song “There’s Alot Going On” a lot. There’s a lot of really personal stories and social context within them but it’s more about me. It’s really poignantly personal, very vulnerable, and real. It’s all real content.

“My album is really poignantly personal, very vulnerable, and real. It’s all real content”

Who are some guests and producers that you can reveal?

Papi Beatz on production always. I’ve got a record with The-Dream that’s crazy. Rivers Cuomo from Weezer. It’s off-the-wall and unexpected collabs. There’s Mike Dean production. Me production. A lot of me production.

How did the collaboration with Rivers Cuomo come about?

I made a beat where I sampled a Weezer song and somehow, through Smoko Ono, I ended up in the studio with Rivers and he fucking loved it. He ended up putting vocals on it. After that, he sent me a track of him playing guitar singing. I had to flip that and make that another song.

Vic Mensa

“I’ve heard a little bit of some Hov shit and it’s fresh as f**k, but I can’t say anything about anything else”

You have a close relationship with Jay Z and Beyoncé. What are they like? Any chance of a collaboration?

They’re just smart people, really good people. That’s something I find as I meet more people in this industry: some of the top dogs are the kindest and in a sense most humble. A lot of people feel themselves when they don’t really have a right to. Hov and Beyoncé are people that I’ve seen, on mad occasions, just be real cool to people that they don’t know. Beyoncé has that queen personality where she makes people feel comfortable. Well, I mean, she probably makes people feel mad uncomfortable because they’re super fans, but she’s super cool to people that I’ve seen her interact with and she always has been really nice to me. As far as music, all I can say is that Beyoncé’s tour and her album are amazing. I’ve heard a little bit of some Hov shit and it’s fresh as fuck, but I can’t say anything about anything else.

–Words and photos by Andres Tardio

Source: RapUP

Cam’Ron On Relationship With Jim Jones

Dipset, Forever?

This past Monday, Cam’Ron and Juelz Santana surprised fans on the final night of Drake’s Madison Square Garden residency. Noticeably absent on the stage was Diplomat member Jim Jones. Turns out, Jim was actually in the VIP section with his son. In an interview with Thisis50, Cam explains why Jim didn’t touch the stage and their rocky relationship.

Source: Rap radar

Young Buck Violates His Parole, Going Back to Jail

Young Buck is going back to jail after violating his parole.

The rapper posted on his Instagram today to let his fans know the news. “Things ain’t go as plan today. Lost my freedom again. Lord knows how much I’m gonna miss my Mother, children, my girl, my Real friends, and family. I want @50cent @tonyyayo @kiddkiddrllnr @loydbanks AND ALL MY FANS TO HOLD ME DOWN!!!!See y’all soon.. STAY UP..AND WILL KEEP YALL UPDATED..GOTTA GO,” he said.

The sentencing follows Buck spending a weekend in jail after he violated his probation when police arrested him for threatening to torch his ex-GF’s apartment. It looks like his probation has been revoked, and the rapper will make his way back to prison. It’s unclear how much time he will serve.

Source: instagram.com

Source: Vladtv

Rae Sremmurd Announces ‘SremmLife 2 Tour’ with Lil Yachty

Rae Sremmurd and Lil Yachty are about to sail so far out of sight on the “SremmLife 2 Tour.”

Hot off the release of their alien-themed video for “Set the Roof,” the Mississippi duo has announced its first-ever headlining jaunt. Set to kick off Oct. 1 in New Orleans, the trek will feature Lil Yachty and special guests Eearz, Bobo Swae, and Impxct as opening acts.

The 27-date tour will go through North America, hitting cities like Atlanta, Toronto, Houston, Denver, and San Francisco before coming to an end in San Diego on Nov. 16.

The announcement comes just days ahead of Rae Sremmurd’s sophomore album SremmLife 2, which arrives Friday. The follow-up to last year’s hit-filled SremmLife features contributions from Mike WiLL Made-It, Gucci Mane, Kodak Black, and Juicy J.

General tickets for “SremmLife 2 Tour” go on sale this Friday with early access tickets going up on Thursday. See tour dates below.

SremmLife 2 Tour Dates

Oct. 1 – New Orleans, LA – Republic New Orleans
Oct. 2 – Atlanta, GA – Tabernacle
Oct. 4 – St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Live
Oct. 5 – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
Oct. 7 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory*
Oct. 9 – Royal Oak, MI – Royal Oak Music Theatre
Oct. 10 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
Oct. 11 – Kansas City, MO – Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland
Oct. 14 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
Oct. 15 – Minneapolis, MN – Zombie Pub Crawl*
Oct. 17 – Boston, MA – House of Blues
Oct. 18 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy
Oct. 22 – New Haven, CT – College Street Music Hall
Oct. 23 – Norfolk, VA – The NorVa
Oct. 24 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE
Oct. 25 – Richmond, VA – The National
Oct. 26 – Charlotte, NC – Fillmore
Oct. 31 – Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
Nov. 1 – Houston, TX – Revention Music Center
Nov. 3 – Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
Nov. 5 – Salt Lake City, UT – Rockwell @ The Complex*
Nov. 7 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum
Nov. 8 – Seattle, WA – Showbox Sodo
Nov. 9 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
Nov. 10 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
Nov. 12 – Tempe, AZ – Marquee Theatre
Nov. 16 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory

* No Supporting Acts

Source: RapUP

Drake's Dad Drops New Music Video

Drake’s father, Dennis Graham, a man who has been seen in videos including “Worst Behavior” is launching his music career and leaked a clip out of his new video this week.

Graham’s new song, “Kinda Crazy,” is currently being turned into a video and TMZ obtained a clip of it. He’s reportedly working with Jamie Iovine, the CRO of Meltdown Comics and the son of music mogul Jimmy Iovine on the new project. The track will officially be released this month, according to the site. The clip features Dennis singing in front of a what looks like a throne.

Source: tmz.com

Source: Vladtv

Travis Scott Announces .Wav Radio Show on Beats 1

After announcing a .Wav party earlier this week, Travis Scott reveals what that event will be celebrating. According to La Flame, that rager will actually be held in honor of his new Beats 1 show, .Wav Radio.

Speaking with fellow Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Travis also spoke about his upcoming album Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, its sound, and its various delays.

“My album is coming,” he said. “I’m probably gonna release the date on my show, but I’ve been working super hard on this album…I feel like I attacked it a different way than I attacked Rodeo. With those albums, Rodeo, Days Before Rodeo, and Owl Pharaoh, I was really tuned into wanting to get people to understand my conscience and who I am mentally. With this album, it still has that too, but I’m really just going in on songs, all big joints. I’m not trying to have sleepers.”

Travis called this a “visual album” and said he’ll be making videos for as many songs as he can. One of those clips is “90210” off Rodeo, a video that reportedly took four months to make. It was directed by Hype Williams and will likely premiere at Scott’s .Wav party on Friday.

The first episode of .Wav Radio will feature Seth Rogen, who Scott called “one of the illest actors, writers, and directors of all fuckin’ time.”

While Birds doesn’t have a release date just yet, Scott’s already talking about his third album Astroworld and its accompanying tour.

Astroworld has always been an album I wanted to do. Birds is just my little stepping stone between Astroworld and shit,” he said. “My next tour is called ‘Astroworld’ and it’s gonna be one of the illest tours of all fucking time. I’m putting a lot into that tour…I already have songs for Astroworld. I’m probably like four or five songs in. I already have the single for it too.”

Scott confirmed that he has about 40 songs ready to go, counting Birds, Astroworld, and various collaborations. One of those, he revealed, features Kanye West.

.Wav Radio will launch on Friday (Aug. 12). A free party is expected to go down in Los Angeles that day where Travis is slated to premiere the visuals for “Pick Up the Phone” and “90210.” There will also be a James Turrell installation, according to a flyer released by Scott earlier this week.

Listen to his full interview with Zane Lowe below.

Source: RapUP

Video: Isaiah Rashad – ‘Free Lunch’

Isaiah Rashad served up his latest single “Free Lunch” earlier this week, and now he’s back with a second helping thanks to the laundry-themed music video.

The A Plus-directed visual for “Free Lunch” finds the TDE spitter at a laundromat, but he isn’t washing any clothes. Instead, there’s money and Trader Joe’s in the machines while Isaiah rhymes about meal tickets.

It looks like “Free Lunch” is setting the table for Rashad’s upcoming album. In a tweet promoting the song’s video, Young Lack Sleep confirmed the project’s Sept. 2 release date.

Rashad’s last project was 2014’s Cilvia Demo, his Top Dawg Entertainment debut, which featured appearances from fellow TDE stars ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, and SZA.

Watch “Free Lunch” below.

Source: RapUP

Video: Joey Bada$$ – ‘Devastated’

Joey Bada$$ turns his empowering anthem about overcoming “Devastated” thoughts into a triumphant new music video.

“I used to be so devastated,” raps the Pro Era spitter. “At times I thought we’d never make it / But now we’re on our way to greatness / And all that ever took was patience.”

The celebratory clip follows JoZif BADMON through a high school football game and into a block party filled with joyous dancing and bike riders killing stunts. At one point, Bada$$ continues the party by diving into a crowd of supporters.

“Devastated” is the first single off Joey’s upcoming album. It could also be a sign of new music from the BK MC, who will join ScHoolboy Q on tour later this month. In June, he told Rap-Up how the track has allowed him to explore other sides of his artistry.

“It’s funny because the new song is really different from my previous work,” he said. “Some fans look at it like ‘Joey’s going mainstream now! What’s he doing?’ Nah. I’m an artist. Each song is a painting for me. People have been used to seeing me paint in the shade of gold or purple. Now, I want to try red and blue. I want to expand my creative and artistic vision, but it’s still the same message. ‘Devastated’ is an inspiring, uplifting song.”

Get inspired and uplifted below.

Source: RapUP