Album Review: There’s a Lot Going on EP by Vic Mensa

Fresh off of signing a huge deal with Roc Nation, Vic Mensa has released his first project with the label and follow up to 2013’s hugely successful Innanetape. After mixed reviews on the first two singles since signing, “No Chill” and “U Mad,” There’s a Lot Going On finds Vic rising up to the huge expectations set forth by his fans and capturing the essence of what he is truly best at. From tackling cultural issues and thought provoking bars—to poppy club sounds and full on singing, Vic demonstrates his unique versatility and keeps the 7 track EP suspenseful by experimenting with new sounds.

The intro track “Dynasty” features an aggressive Vic, showcasing a consistent flow and confidently carrying the weight of a Roc Nation co-sign. After showcasing his lyrical ability on the intro— “16 Shots” takes a step back from the competition of rap and shines some light on a social issue that is extremely close to Vic’s heart. Being from Chicago, violence is inescapable and effects the entire community as a whole, 16 shots specifically highlights the incident that happened to Laquan Howard in Chicago. It’s a powerful anthem that speaks in detail on the tensions between cops and the community, painting a vivid picture of the youths social and political angst.

Towards the middle of the EP Vic starts experimenting with some new sounds and showcases some of mainstream appeal that Roc Nation surely saw with 2014’s hit “Down On My Luck.”  On “Danger” Vic finds the perfect chorus melody to go along with a couple solid verses and some great production from Papi Beatz. While “New Bae” takes on more of a Bryson Tiller or The Weekend type feel— sounding like something straight from radio, Vic finds success in the R&B sound as well. “Liquor locker” takes a similar approach and appropriately places the sole feature from the EP in the hands of Ty Dolla Signs, another rising R&B artist.

After a slight detour of sound, Vic returns to his self-awareness and redirects his energy toward some more thought provoking content. On “Shades of Blue” Vic reflects back on the events that took place in Flint, Michigan and the devastating impact it has had on that community. Vic understands the powerful position he has taken with signing to the Roc and is using this power for activism and awakening the masses to the issues he finds important. Reassuring the world at home that change comes from you the individual— a reoccurring theme in “Shades of Blue.” Using this idea on the title track “There’s a Lot Going On”—Vic finds himself reflecting on himself as an individual and the trials and tribulations he has occurred over the past few years as an artist.

There’s a Lot Going on is Vic at his absolute best, and a testament to the huge potential Jay-Z and Kanye West both envisioned in the young star. The project shows Vic at his most vulnerable points and is true insight to the constant battles being waged within a struggling young stars’ ideas on how to cope with fame. Everything from experimental sounds to heart pouring truths, Vic shines bright in this EP and has only raised the stock on his highly anticipated label debut—Traffic, expected later this year. Until then, catch Vic on his upcoming summer tour with Joey Purp at the Bluebird Theater in Denver, Colorado on August 1, 2016. You can purchase tickets here and stream the brand new EP below.



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