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vic mensa's guide to the chicago rap scene

Vic Mensa is one of our favourite new rhymers from Chicago, a city that has birthed couplet-constructors from Kanye West to Common, Twista to Lupe Fiasco, as well as more recent 16-bar storytellers like Chief Keef and Chance The Rapper. From the ill to the ig’nant, the political to the playa, we asked the 21 year-old Illinois native to tell us his five favourite tracks from Chicago, about Chicago.

Text Hattie Collins

Down On My Luck by Vic Mensa is out now. 


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  • Lupe Fiasco - Coulda Been

    "One of the very first tracks he made, this is my favorite Lupe song; the concept and execution is so ill and impactful. It’s about what he might have been doing if he wasn’t rapping."


  • Common - Invocation

    "It’s from ‘One Day It’ll All Make Sense’. This song is only, like, a minute long, but it's like a novel in 60 seconds."

  • Do Or Die - 3 AM

    "This is the ultimate, late night player anthem."


  • E.C. Illa - What You Be About

    "This is the history of gang-banging in a song." 

  • Z Money - Let You Know

    "Z Money is my man and this song is just super tough, the verses are crazy. This shit is just turnt."