Freshly off the release of The Autobiography, an intensely vulnerable and transparent compilation of work, Vic Mensa is riled up and excited to perform is new music at the Made In America Music Festival in Philadelphia. The rapper walks into the media tent on day one of the two-day event, clad in his traditional dark attire of all black and a leather jacket decorated in pins.
The Chicago native has a particularly mysterious and reserved way about him. At first he doesn’t say much, and his face often seems to be in deep thought. But that’s most likely because he is in deep thought.
In a brief interview with VIBE on a worn in, suede couch, Vic Mensa unravels slightly, to tell us about what it means to be Made In America, his purpose as an artist and more.
VIBE: Considering this political climate and everything happening now, what does it mean to be made in America?
Vic Mensa: I think that everybody has their own interpretations of what it means to be American. But from my vantage point, being black and successful in the Unites States of America is the epitome of being American. It’s the epitome of the American Dream. America as an entity is built on blood, filled with sharks and spits venom, but it’s all we know. And for that reason, we’ve done the best that we can and we continue to everything we can to exist. I was born in America. I don’t agree with 99.9 percent of the things America does around the world or at home, but I have no other home.
Your last project, The Autobiography, was incredibly vulnerable and authentic to your particular journey. In past conversations, you’ve said that their was so much pain you needed to express. Did you feel as though their was a responsibility to share that with fans, especially those coming from similar situations?
As an artist especially in a climate such as today’s, I do have a great responsibility to the people that support me in and out of music. I have a responsibility to my fellow my community, to my fellow man, and woman. With that said, I create from a place of selfishness, but I’m also cognizant of potential impact on others. And I try to make that impact positive.
What would you say your purpose is?
My purpose is to unite people, to bring us together. And above all, to be a champion for justice and a vehement opponent of oppression and justice.
What would you say the legacy of Roc-A-Fella is?
The greatest rap label of all time.
What are you excited for today?
I’m just excited every time I perform this new album because the content is so important to me. So it’s always a meaningful experience for myself and for the audience. It’s so honest, and it’s healing, and growing. And it’s energy. It’s something that’s just good for my soul to perform this music.