The resurgence of hip-hop talent can be credited to the fresh sounds of Chicago’s SaveMoney crew. A group of artists brought together by local spoken word guru, Brother Mike. Vic Mensa met Chancellor Bennett, better known as Chance the Rapper and other young talents during one of Brother Mike’s open mic nights and the two immediately hit it off. Mensa, attending Whitney Young Magnet School at the time grew up in Hyde Park on the Southside of Chicago.

As a member of the group, Kids These Days, Mensa got an early start making moves wading through the murky waters of the music industry. His name was ringing, and his collaboration with Chance the Rapper brought an alliance that would help attract a loyal following of peers to follow their music without the help of radio airplay.

At 21, he would release debut single, “Down On My Luck” on Virgin EMI. His ongoing touring with some of the biggest names in the business from J. Cole, Wale to Danny Brown would attract the attention of Jay-Z’s management and entertainment company, Roc Nation. His collaboration with EDM DJ, Skrillex; Jahlil Beats, Kanye West, Ty Dolla Sign and Grandmarshal New Music, New Look: Vic Mensa others would allow him a bigger platform to rap about the social and criminal injustice that revolved around the Flint water crisis and the LaQuan McDonald murder. Often allowing his music an open book into his world, he relies on his first full-length project, The Autobiography
in 2017.

His community outreach includes forming the SaveMoney SaveLife Foundation leading the conversation on finding productive ways to bring fight racism, and social, economic disparities through the arts. Currently, sporting a clean-cut look minus his signature locks—the tatted 25-year-old has emerged with a new single, “Metaphysical” fused
with African influences. He mentions, “This is a song about desire. Admiration. Respect. Uncertainty. Surrender,” Mensa said of the single in a statement. “Musically it’s African, tribal. My father is Ghanian, so I’ve wanted to take it there for a long time. I got Stefan Ponce who did ‘Down On My Luck’ for me & Papi Beatz and just spoke my truth into song.” The song follows his the first track, “10k Problems” revealing deep and personal issues with his battle with addiction.

We welcome Mensa, as this year’s Grand Marshal for the 89th annual Bud Billiken Parade and Festival. His love for his city and community is admired by his young fan base because of creative genius and ability to be a voice for those who feel they have none.