Even as the gold rush of people paying attention to Chicago rappers unfolded over the past few years, Vic Mensa, the lead rapper in the band Kids These Days, remained largely unnoticed. He was a footnote despite his band's influence in the local scene. (It may be hard to believe now, but even as recently as the beginning of the year, Kids These Days was helping put Chance the Rapper on.) That started to change after the band broke up, particularly with the release of the single "Orange Soda," a warm, funk-filled show of lyrical dexterity that found Vic calling himself "Silkk the Shocker with a fifth of vodka" and demonstrating he had punch as a solo artist.
INNANETAPE displays Vic's talent in its fullest fruition yet. As a rapper, Vic is physical, contorting words and playing with sounds. He bends the meter of songs in unexpected ways and dances freely between rapping and singing his lyrics. He's fun to listen to, his writing is dizzyingly dense and consistently interesting.
But INNANETAPE is more than a show of great rapping—it's also an ambitious, musically omnivorous project that demonstrates Vic is an artist with a broad vision and a strong sense for building songs, particularly with moments like "Run" and "Time Is Money." It proves that Vic is a viable solo artist and that Save Money is a crew with depth. But most of all it feels like a triumph for the principle of restless creativity and for anyone with a mind spilling over with ideas. —Kyle Kramer