Last May, The FADER spent a week with the rapper Vic Mensa in Chicago shooting our first video cover story, Down To Start A Riot. Mensa had recently joined Kanye West on stage at the BRIT Awards and was, along with the rest of his SAVEMONEY crew, teetering on the edge of breaking out in a major way. As Mensa's go-to producer and friend-since-grammar-school Stefan Ponce recalls, "He really did what he always knew he was going to do. Like, damn, this guy is really about to change his life."
Citing the versatility of SAVEMONEY's sound and the breadth of their projects, the documentary's director Aaron Brown says that, "It was cool to see what [Mensa and the SAVEMONEY guys] were doing, because they were doing something that has a lot more dimension." Brown spent time with Vic in the studio, where there was work to be done and fun to be had; followed him through the streets of Hyde Park, where he recalls seeing the body of a slain classmate as a teenager and where he is now stopped by admirers on the street; and he filmed him freestyling on a subway platform.
"I had the idea of trying to explore the genre of documentary, just trying to pick the pieces apart of a rapper," Brown says of the dramatic subway station session. "I was thinking of an acapella verse as a voiceover in a documentary, that's what it was. Just trying to freshen it up. We've all seen a bunch of rap videos and a bunch of documentaries, so it was asking, how can we think about them as one thing."
With nearly one hundred issues behind us, we are proud to present our first video cover story Down To Start A Riot featuring Vic Mensa and SAVEMONEY. Watch above, and check this space for more documentaries like this in the future.