Jay-Z’s recital of the inaugural line from a Tale of Two Cities perfectly captures the essence of modern day Hip Hop: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Today in Hip Hop, we relentlessly laud vulnerability and transparency; while in the same breath, lyricism is slowly denigrated to a lost art. At the meeting point of these two ideals is where we meet Vic Mensa. The 24-year-old Chicago native has exhibited a borderline obsessive need for introspection as well as offering top tier bars to paint a most open picture.

Mensa’s rebellious nature peaks with the release of his debut album “The Autobiography”. Clocking in at just over 60 minutes, Mensa effectively covers a galaxy of content. In “Rollin’ like a Stoner”, Mensa taps into his inner Sid Vicious; recounting the low points of his self-destructive lifestyle and his inability to change. The rock star lifestyle is a recurring theme over the album with the appearance of Weezer on “Homewrecker”. The track offers Mensa and Cuomo trade scintillating tales of a relationship in its dying stages. In stark contrast to the album’s pop and rock leanings, Mensa delivers an incredible stream of purely hip hop consciousness on “The Fire Next Time”. Deriding alternative facts, the lightskin/darkskin debate, and peer pressure, Mensa delivers a blistering track as expected from hip hop social commentator.

Track after track, Mensa curates a coming of age story from a place of hopeless circumstances and constant self-deprecation. Marked by pain and uncertainty, but all the while offering feable beams of hope, “The Autobiography” is a harrowing glimpse into the life of Vic Mensa.

Stream "The Autobiography" below!