Age: 19
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Active Since: 2009
Label: N/A
Twitter Handle: @VicMensa 

Essential Listening: Straight Up  
Pros: The increased attention paid to Chicago rap this year.
Cons: Chicago has a surplus of talent—and competition.

If you spent any time with Chance the Rapper's excellent Acid Rap this year you probably noticed the arresting guest verse on "Cocoa Butter Kisses." It came from Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, who damn near stole the song out from under Chance and midwest motormouth Twista. Vic's a member of Chicago's Save Money rap crew, and had been the leader of the Chitown hip-hop band Kids These Days, until the group's dissolution earlier this spring. The band's break-up hasn't proven to be much of a setback. Vic has hit the ground running, showing off his fleet, melodic flow over a series of loosies in the lead up to the release of his upcoming INNANETAPE. Vic Mensa seems poised to follow Chance's lead in illuminating the pensive, lyrical side of Chicago rap. —Craig Jenkins