Fans of Vic Mensa‘s music were a little taken back by the sound of his latest project There’s Alot Going On. He says the change came from getting sober.
Vic Mensa was introduced to many with upbeat songs like “Down On My Luck” and turn-up anthems like “Feel That” and “U Mad.” But in an interview with the Phoenix New Times, Mensa says that stepping away from drug use cleared up his mind and allowed him better articulate thoughts and messages that he always wanted to get out.
Your new EP you just put out, There’s Alot Going On. It was a big turn towards darker and more politically conscious material — can you speak to what inspired that change?
Getting sober. That’s always been of paramount importance to me, social issues and all, but when I was more wrapped up in drugs it was harder to articulate.
How long have you been sober at this point?
Since the end of January.
Is that difficult for you to maintain on a day-to-day basis?
No. I mean, I drink at night. [laughs] But it’s not difficult. I’m way more enjoying my life without any drugs in it.
On that note, there was a line that stood out on the title track of that EP: “I did acid in the studio one day and almost killed myself.” Can you tell that story?
Yeah, I can tell that story. So what happened there was, I was in a point of time since probably 2013 where I jumped from drug to drug as, like, a creative crutch. It was really like a handicap, but I got to a point where I just felt like I needed drugs to write, to be creative, and thought it was psychedelic drugs. I did too much mushrooms, to the point where I couldn’t even do it anymore, I would just have a bad trip. So this was sometime after that. But I was in the studio with some of my friends and we did acid and we started buggin’ out, somehow things just took a really negative turn. I just felt really low and at the bottom of it, and I was on the ground trying to sink into the floor. Then I went outside and I went to my car. It was near Halloween and I had this toy pistol in my trunk, it was part of my costume. And I’m just glad it wasn’t a real pistol. I was just thinking about bridges and all that suicidal shit. It scarred me for a while. I was definitely dealing with that bad trip for at least a year.
Do you feel like you’ve learned from it now?
Yeah, don’t do acid [laughs]. No, it’s not just about the drugs though, it’s more so about a state of mind. And my state of mind is elevated past there.
The change can he heard in Mensa’s music for sure. The freestyles he’s been dropping over the summer have all been politically charged and socially aware. Even the merch on sale on his Back With A Vengeance tour make statements about police brutality.
Mensa is set to drop his debut album which he promises will feature more storytelling that challenges listeners to be aware of current events.