Age: 20
Recent Project: INNANETAPE

For Vic Mensa, the spotlight has been on him without much talk being about him. He was part of a band, Kids These Days, that received label attention and even performed at Lollapalooza in 2011. Earlier this year, he announced the decision to turn into a solo artist as part of the Save Money collective. But while the entire crew has been buzzing as part of Chicago's hip-hop renaissance, Vic has—at least in the media's conception—played second fiddle to the much more popular Chance the Rapper.

Vic may not be as big as Chance, but sleep on him at your own risk. His latest mixtape, INNANETAPE, was as sonically ambitious as Chance's Acid Rap. He may not possess Chance's natural gift to weave back-and-forth between different melodies and harmonies, but he has the innate ability to rap his ass off. Vic's flow bounces over each beat like a restless three-year old, but never once does he completely come unhinged and miss the beat.

Vic uses these skills to open up on a variety of different topics in his first solo mixtape. He's unashamed of injecting his own story and experiences, but he's also adept at thinking beyond himself to talk about society. More important is his ability to tone down his rapid-fire flow somewhat, to create catchier celebration songs like "Orange Soda" or "Hollywood LA."

Vic may not have received the overwhelming accolades that Chance has received in the last six months, but to dismiss INNANETAPE would be a mistake: Good music is good music, and Vic Mensa knows how to make it. —Dharmic X

If You Don't Believe Us Listen To: "Orange Soda"