Hearing the news of the breakup of Kids These Days was a bit devastating for us fans of the band, but the news of Vic Mensa’s venture into a solo career helped make the news a little bit easier to cope with and it gave us something new to get excited for. Earlier this week when INNANETAPE finally dropped, it took the internet by storm and for good reason. The first looks at the new project, “Orange Soda” and “Lovely Day,” made this a promising release but hearing it as a whole makes you wonder just how big this guy is about to get.
The tape starts out strong with “Welcome to INNANET” with a minimalist beat that builds nicely. The line “But baby if you love me let me take you where it’s ugly” is dark but heartfelt and the rough sound of Vic saying “Tap into my frequency” to help lead into “Orange Soda” reminds me of The Beatles’ first two tracks on Sgt. Peppers. The latter INNANETAPE track is a great one from start to finish. The sunny and soulful glow of the production (that bass line is awesome) feels like the early 90’s Hip Hop sound of a group like A Tribe Called Quest, plus the falsetto chorus is an excellent contrast to the rapping on the verses. “Lovely Day” also shows a warmer side to the young MC thanks to a chorus that brings to mind John Legend but what makes this one stand out the most is that it can be seen as the most Kids These Days-like track. Production on the whole track screams retro cool and it sounded like something Andre 3000 would sound perfect rapping over.
The first WTF (in a good way) moment comes with the trippy noise found on the Chance The Rapper-featuring track, “Tweakin’.” Vic’s lines using references Celebrity Deathmatch and Nardwuar come with a Slim Shady LP-era Eminem-like delivery while Chano’s verse features his signature cadence. Another standout track is “Time Is Money,” featuring Rockie Fresh. The production is gloomy but Vic spits rhymes at a faster pace and high energy to give you a cool clash of sounds and Rockie Fresh’s part is well-delivered. The “Young Net Save Peso” hook on “YNSP” (feat. Eliza Doolittle) will surely be a go-to chant at future Vic Mensa shows and that beat causes instant head-bobbing. Plus the line where he says “you know the saying ‘we up next’ fuck that, right now!” couldn’t be more correct. “Hollywood LA” (featuring POD-favorite Lili K) features that California Hip Hop Soul sound you drive slow to.
“Holy Holy” is another slow jam with some Chicago Soul undertones and it has notable features from Ab-Soul and BJ The Chicago Kid. The somber “Fear & Doubt” feat. Kenna on the hook and a ridiculous verse from fellow Save Money man Joey Purp is one the best tracks on this whole release. Vic’s recounting of what may have happened had his life taken alternate paths really comes to life when Purp takes over the track. I’ll skip the analysis and let you discover the awesomeness that is this track all on your own. The beat for “Yap Yap” is a dope headbanger that feels like the perfect set closer for an INNANETAPE tour.
“RUN!” is a weird one for me. The genre for this song is hard to pinpoint and it doesn’t necessarily make sense with the rest of the tape, but you got to give the guy some props for this ambitious attempt. It somewhat brings to mind Kid Cudi’s venture into Rock. “That Nigga” is an ode to Vic’s coming of age story and rise to fame, then serving like a traditional outtro during its second half with shout-outs to everyone that helped make this tape including his father and Peter Cottontale.
Vic’s INNANETAPE is a real triumph. The music is gloomy and somber at times and chock-full of raw energy and creativity at others, plus the features were not wasted on anybody. The evolution of Vic’s sound from what we heard and loved during his time in Kids These Days to what we have here now is a sign that he can fare well all on his own and that this is only the beginning of a promising career.
Stream: INNANETAPE below and DOWNLOAD it as well.