Chicago native Vic Mensa is the star of the FADER's first video cover story, How To Start A Riot. In the documentary, Mensa covers a lot of ground: from detailing his youth and upbringing on the rough streets of Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, to learning on the Internet, and blessing us with a freestyle on a deserted subway platform. The SAVEMONEY crew also offer their insight on the development of one of hip hop's most intriguing young talents, as well as Mensa's impact on their neighborhood and community. Here's a little bit of what we learned about Vic Mensa in between scaling chain-link fences and rolling joints:
2. Vic credits the Internet with teaching him how to skateboard and freestyle rap
Shoutout to WikiHow, shoutout to YouTube; in true millennial fashion, Mensa remembers printing out "pages on pages of How To Freestyle" back in the day and credits the Internet with teaching him how to skateboard.
3. He doesn't care about the critics
When it comes to feedback, Mensa says he prefers listening to the opinions of the Internet, because that is where the opinions of the youth are. "The Internet understands me," he said. "The critics and shit? Eh... y'know? The Internet understands me 'cuz the Internet is the fuckin' kids, and the youth understand."
4. He was "damn near" a straight-A student in high school before street culture took precedence
True to his moniker, Mensa says he was a model student up until Chicago's street culture got ahold of him and his homies. "I was seasoned on that vice shit by the time I even went into high school," says Mensa of his extra-curricular pursuits. "But to us, we didn't feel like we were doing anything out of the ordinary."
5. Vic is a hero in Hyde Park
In addition to being recognized and dapped up on the street, a car pulled up to the curb to congratulate Vic on his success while also letting him know that he is considered an inspiration to the community in Hyde Park.
6. He's got The Neptunes on his mind
I wake up, I know this shit ain’t easy, nigga trust
They hate on you? Well picture if you was us
In my position, I can’t go back to the low-end
When you the star player you can’t call for a sub
Let the bass in, we was in the basement, non-complacent
More getting ready I always knew I would make it
Always knew I’d be racing, pull a 3 at the stop light
Sweating in the Beemer like niggas under the cop lights
I know the feeling, I think back when we was children
When I’d wish I could be white or be black
It’s like I had my eyes closed to the truth — I was blind to the fact
America gon’ treat me as what they see me as
Why I need to spazz, call Chad: “where Pharrell at?”
Tell him let’s kill ‘em, I’m down to shoot like a mail trap
I ain’t go to school ‘cuz I’m living a lesson
I made it out this bitch just to be here’s a blessing, forreal doe.