Chicago music lovers were left with a bittersweet taste yesterday when news spread that the acclaimed band, Kids These Days, noted for recent performances at SXSW and Coachella, was breaking up after years of creating genre-defying music.
Lead rapper Vic Mensa attributed the split to band members disagreeing about the direction in which their music was heading.
“It was around the time of SXSW,” Mensa told VIBE yesterday (May 8), on a late-night phone call. “Liam [the group’s guitarist and singer] said he wanted to leave the band. It just got to a point where he felt stifled by my role in the band and the role of rap and hip-hop and the things I brought to the table.”
But Mensa added that there wasn’t only one dissenter; the group was collectively moving in differing directions. “He’s not the only one that’s been frustrated with Kids These Days. We all felt a lot of frustration,” the 19-year-old rapper said. “It was just a big group with no leader and so many different roles being played by so many talented people. Everybody’s got to compromise.”.
As he ventures into a new chapter in his career while working on his upcoming mixtape, INNANETAPE, due this summer, Mensa says he’s eager and excited to finally do things 100 percent his way.
“I’ve been working on the INNANETAPE for a while. Since I really started going hard with that shit, I’ve been getting out my creativity,” he said. “I have an outlet for things I didn’t feel like I could do in Kids These Days. I’m excited.”
After showcasing his impeccable flow and lyricism on the highly-talked-about Chance the Rapper track, “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” many are crowning him as one of the next in line to put on for the Chi.
“Vic is my brother in this rap shit,” Chance tells VIBE. “ We came up together and have always pushed each other to be better. He’s next.”
In working on his solo project, Vic has found the silver lining after the group’s split. He’s eager to introduce and establish himself as a solo force.
“I want people to walk away with a sense of who I am as a person, as an artist, just enjoying being alive,” says Mensa. “Through music, we can enjoy and appreciate the darkest parts of our lives. Making music is cool, because something you can feel terrible about…you can find a little bit of consoling in music for those harder times. That’s what I want to do with this mixtape and hopefully make some shit that goes down as classics.” —Shannon Powell