Danny Brown’s new and abrasively excellent album Old leaked on October 1st, which is why it’s hard to believe that the weirdest rap song I’ve heard this month comes from somewhere else in Illinois. Meet Vic Mensa, the ex-“Kids These Days” frontman who’s been trying to break out as a solo rap act since his band called it quits in May. He hails from the same Chicago school as this year’s breakout star Chance The Rapper (that’s going to be important in a minute) and seems on the cusp of getting there himself with his phenomenal debut mixtape, INNANETAPE.
There’s a whole lot to love on INNANETAPE: fiery verses, big hooks, strong song concepts, and beats that ricochet at will between jazz, go-go, and dancehall music. But for me, nothing comes close to the psychotic head trip Vic unleashes on “Tweakin”. Everything on this track is designed to disorient the listener, from the pitched and phased lead vocals to the spliced bird chirps and coughing that underline the song’s chorus. And then there’s that never-ending “la la la la laaaa” that sounds like a crazy person singing to himself. Even the beat ping-pongs back and forth in the mix—listen to this song with headphones on and just try to predict what’s going to come out next.
But all of this would just be a nice soundscape without Vic. He sounds—appropriately—all over the place: inflecting with Mac Miller’s ghetto-nasal tone, out-leaning Wiz Khalifa in the chorus, and effortlessly channeling early-2000s Eminem with every word of the verses. It’s a virtuosic performance, only upstaged by Chance The Rapper’s complete mindmelt of a third verse. I’ll let you enjoy their ramblings yourself instead of quoting anything (ah, forget it…”condiminimum”), because by the time the song’s over there’s nothing left to do but sit there in silent awe, wondering what just happened.
Play this song: On headphones while you stare at some kind of psychedelic wall projection. DO NOT play this song while on any kind of intoxicant, as you might not come back.