Vic Mensa FAULT Magazine Covershoot and Interview

Photographer: Sariel Elkaim

Interview: Miles Holder

It’s been nearly eight years since the release of Vic Mensa’s debut mixtape INNANETAPE but in actuality, his musical journey starts far before then. Regardless of where on his journey you first listen to his music, his message has always been loud and clear. With the release of his latest project I TAPE still ringing in our ears, we caught up with Vic Mensa to discuss his musical journey, his process and of course, his FAULTs.

What’s been the biggest challenge of your music journey?

The biggest challenge of my music journey has been perhaps navigating the trappings of the music industry and fame while maintaining love for the music itself. Also, in all honesty, just staying sane. I’ve always struggled with my mental health and the music industry is extremely corrosive in that regard.

You’ve been open and honest in the past about mental health, both in your music and interviews – with 2020 and 2021 presenting even more struggles, especially on black men’s mental health, what’s something you’ve done to ease the pain of this period in time?

In the past year connecting with close family and friends has been of the utmost importance to me. Also, being of service. I find that doing for others can help me take my mind off of myself and my mind.

With so much of your music from videos to lyrics being tied to fighting the issues facing the world, do you ever feel battle tired to the point that the mental fatigue makes it hard to still create art?

I often feel fatigued in a way that makes it hard to create. I’ve scrapped entire albums because the world and my mental health has weighed so heavily on me that it became impossible to make sense of things.

What was the hardest track on I TAPE for you to create?

Shelter was definitely the most difficult to create. I started the record back in 2016 with Clef and it wasn’t until 2020 when it was actually completed.

You take your time to perfect each release even though the music industry moves so quickly at the moment – do you ever worry that you’ll fall behind by not keeping up with the trend of nonstop singles, mixtape and album releases?

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t. I do consciously try to remind myself that I am making timeless music, however, art that is built to last past the current instant gratification moment.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Mike Posner once told me about songwriting “tell as much truth in every line as possible.” That’s probably the best writing advice I’ve ever been given.

What’s something no journalist has ever asked you but is something you’ve always wanted to say/discuss?

People don’t usually ask me about fighting. I grew up doing martial arts and I box as well.

When you look back on your career, what do you want your music to say about you the person?

My music is an extension of me as a person so above all I want it to be real, authentic, impactful.

What’s your biggest fear as it pertains to your art?

My biggest fear is not being able to express myself.

What is your FAULT?

A fault of mine is being too kind and too giving; putting myself in harms way to help others.