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Vic Mensa @ Social Hall SF 

Wednesday, Aug 3 2016
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Vic Mensa is young — 23 — so he's still figuring shit out, namely his musical style. His first two mixtapes, Trap House Rock (2012) and Innateape (2013), are filled with rapid-fire bars over clangy, bass-heavy instrumentals. But his debut Virgin Records-released single, "Down On My Luck," is the total opposite: Mensa sings and hardly raps over a throbbing, deep-house melody. Perhaps because of his versatility, Mensa is one of Kanye West's darlings, appearing on a verse — as well as in the music video — for "Wolves," a track from West's 2016 album, The Life of Pablo. Shortly before signing to Jay-Z's label, Roc Nation, Mensa released the throbbing, vuvuzela-filled single "U Mad," featuring none other than West himself. For such a young guy, Mensa is startlingly well-connected, having also performed with Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, J. Cole, Wale, and most recently Ty Dolla Sign, who has a guest feature on Mensa's EP, There's Alot Going On. A prelude to his upcoming debut album — which will have the same name — it tackles a number of hard-hitting political issues, like the 2014 shooting of Chicago Police Department veteran Laquan McDonald and the water crisis in Flint, Mich. Mensa might be all over the place with his musical focuses, but it sure is interesting watching what he does next.

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Jessie Schiewe

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