The honesty that bleeds from the album certainly has a lot in common with the latest project from his mentor, Jay-Z, and you can partially put it down to Chicago super-producer No I.D.’s involvement in both projects. While No I.D. admits to having created certain beats to draw subject matter out of Jay–the use of the sample on the titular “4:44” was intended to force his hand and make him talk about his infidelities–his role was different on Vic’s project.
“No I.D. helped me to just identify certain energies that I might not have really represented yet in the music that he picked up on just in my personality, or in the person he perceived me to be,” he says. He explains that No I.D. was able to tell him exactly what the album was missing, what had been covered, and what there was too much of. “[He played] devil's advocate to think from every angle about what the body of work as a whole represented.”
Beyond the thought processes of the album, the heart of it deals with the fact that this is a second chance for Vic, when all might have been lost. And aside from his role as an artist, he’s becoming known for taking the time to speak on topics that other rappers simply won’t touch for fear of losing face. He’s been brave about admitting that he needed therapy to deal with mental health issues, and few artists would be willing to admit the same. But it was part of his journey to come to terms with his own issues and confront them – and he’s happy with the consequences of sharing that. “With that in consideration, I was also very aware that by doing so I would have the potential to inspire other people to confront their own issues and be honest and be transparent, and be real about it,” he says.
And in light of recent events, with figures like Donald Trump's denouncing transgender people in the military, and refusing to call the recent Charlottesville killer a “white supremacist” or “terrorist”, Vic thinks it’s about time that artists were more bold about what’s going on in their minds. “Donald Trump is just ostracising and dividing people and the world's political climate right now is really in shambles, and I think that this is a moment at which people with a voice and with a platform can't afford to be subordinate and docile,” he says. When I ask whether he thinks rappers are doing enough with their platforms to better the lives of their people, he takes a pause. “You know I usually have a different answer to that question,” he says. “I usually say people should do what they feel comfortable doing and what they know about. But honestly, I feel like at this point enough is enough.”