Friday marked Vic Mensa‘s first project since 2013’s Innanetape with the release of the 7-track EP There’s Alot Going On. The gap between the ages of 20 and 23 can seem like an eternity rather than just three to four years, as a youth essentially enters adulthood, for lack of a better term. As highlighted in the title track of Vic’s latest release and its accompanying visuals, so much has changed in the Chicago-native’s life, for better or worse, over this course of time. What we’re left with are flooring, raw lyrics and visuals that blend into what is simply the most impressive music video we have seen this year.
As Vic goes in and spits for four frantic minutes, a chronological timeline is laid out to communicate the highs and lows, trials and tribulations experienced by Mensa throughout his formative years, since entering the music “industry.” The lyrics are unapologetically emotional and honest, nothing is held back. Vic vocalizes his struggles in dealing with the breakup of the Kids These Days collective, a turbulent relationship with his ex-girlfriend, as well as his internal struggles with depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. Mensa is completely vulnerable in these instances, with these low points serving as a contrast to what the public would perceive as a successful, enviable path; signing to Jay Z’s Roc Nation, working with a childhood hero and fellow south-side native in Kanye West.
The single’s visuals are simplistic and equally powerful, allowing the emotions behind each lyric to truly shine. The story revealed is intertwined with images of various milestones or checkpoints that have affected the emcee, for better or worse, as they fly by in the shooting range. As these various ups and downs have come and gone, Vic has overcome a lot to emerge from the darkness of Chicago, with “Still Alive” appropriately marked across his body. In many ways, Mensa has dodged a lot of bullets to get to this point, avoiding the 16 bullets at the video’s conclusion that were fatal in ending Laquan McDonad’s life, a fellow young black man from Chicago who’s life was ended as the result of police brutality. “There’s Alot Going On” puts the industry on notice that Vic Mensa is set to embrace the position he has overcome all odds to get to. The artist has changed so much these past few years, sonically and internally. The result here seems to show that at the end of the day, Vic has become a better man for it. His music is better for it, too.