Chicago rapper Vic Mensa has been announced as Roc Nation’s newest signing and its been a hotly kept secret which he’d already revealed to us after his crazy set at the Brixton Academy for Kaytranada.
Talking to Semtex at the Billionaire Boys Club afterparty he laid out the impact the U.K’s had on his career – “I definitely think that minus the U.K, the journey would have been a lot less eventful, and just like way different, I think England and London in particular, and you playing my records and Radio 1 and 1xtra all showing me love, has been a huge catalyst in the things that I’m doing.”
Feels like Vic is a regular fixture in the UK and we’d last seen him when he appeared on stage at the Brit Awards in February for Kanye’s performance of ‘All Day’ as well as joining Kanye’s last minute show at Koko, Camden alongside Big Sean, Raekwon and Boy Better Know.
Now it looks like Kanye’s returned a favour by appearing on his new label mates record ’U Mad’ after Vic unexpectedly had his own verse used on Kanyes ‘Wolves’ track where he features alongside Sia.
I Was Just Geeked
“Kanye found out about me through my homie, Mike who’s an amazing producer, he’s like one of the most unique individual guys I know making beats, so he went to Kanye’s house and played him a bunch of beats, played him some songs, some unreleased shit that I’d sang on of his and so Ye was like fucking with him and told me to come through”
Vic’s done his thing with Kanye, he’s done his thing in the U.K but it feels like Vic’s got his own lane with Roc Nation.
“In everything that I do and everything that we do and especially learning from somebody like Kanye, it’s just like learning to push those boundaries, I take huge pride in my raps and the shit that I say lyrically.”
That’s my lane just next level shit
Roc Nation executive Lenny S. posted a picture of Mensa and Jay Z on his Instagram page, and detailed the story of Mensa’s signature. “A while back, I caught wind of an artist from Chicago who I thought had undeniable talent + lots of potential,” Lenny S. wrote, and called Vic Mensa one of his proudest signings to date. Vic says “Lenny S is my guy, who came to see me on tour with J.Cole over a year ago and told Cody ‘Vic’s gonna sign to the Roc’.
A while back, I caught wind of an artist from Chicago who I thought had undeniable talent + lots of potential. (B4 the hype). I had @spanish_ran get in contact with @codykazarian who was a part of the mgmt team. I flew to Chi to go see this kid perform. As a music exec, I'm excited about traveling to the Chi to meet this guy for the 1st time. Coming from Roc, I assumed he'd be ecstatic. I assumed wrong. He barely gives me a head nod after Cody intros us. Now the show's over, every1 is gone & still nothin'. As I'm leaving, he stops me + says "yo, thanks for coming homie, where u from again?" I'd be lying to say I wasn't slightly offended. Ha. I sarcastically answered "just a lil rec company named ROC NATION". He replies, "oh, who y'all got there?" If u know me & my ROC pride, I'm offended again. Me: "Not sure if you've heard of them, a few small artists like, JZ, JCole & Rihanna". He says, oh cool + keeps it moving. All Good… Fast fwd a few months. Cody keeps me updated on everything they're doing + without question, I show up. Chi, ATL, Detroit, LA, NY etc. Finally, I meet Dan, the 2nd half of mgmt team while they're in NY filming Wildn' Out. Dan doesn't even give me eye contact during our intro. At this point I'm tight.. Who the fuck r these guys?! Who do they think they r ?! Fuck that! Do they not know who I am & the company I rep?! WTF! Lol. Days later I convince myself to put my stubbornness/pride aside & reach out. Fuck it, this dude is too dope. Why should I lose out just cause it seems like they're not impressed w/ Lenny S or Roc. I hit Cody..He tells me Vic wanted to holla at me. We kick it for months. They tell me nothin can move if I'm not good w/Dan. I sat w/ all of em in LA & I told them every reason y ROC was perfect for em. They didn't care about the hype, $, offers etc. They cared about making a connection w/ music/culture & partnering with a company who understood their vision/art. Same thing Roc believes in. We shook on it. Last piece of the puzzle: Meet w/ Chaka & J. My 20m meeting lasted 3hrs. We talked bout art/icons/rock/HipHop etc & decided our new business partners were SAVEMONEY! 1 of my most proud signings! VIC MENSA!!
“Thats the thing about Roc Nation, those are ground up N***s, they built shit from nothing. So I think that its a brand that fits with my brand because I built everything I got from nothing, I didn’t come into this shit with a kickstarter.”
When asked when he first met Hov he laughs “Actually the first time I met Jay was like for 2 minutes, it was right before he went to the Met Gala and Solange attacked him in the elevator, that was the first time I met Hov, but the next time I met him we really sat down, I played him music and got to hear him speak and pick his brain as a genius one of the best to ever do it on a business and a musical front, so those are good people to align myself with. “