Billboard is reporting that budding superstar and Roc Nation signee Vic Mensa has signed a management deal with mega-manager Scooter Braun, best known as Justin Bieber's longtime manager. Mensa is one of two new signees announced to Braun's SB Projects roster, the other being long-time Braun friend and business partner Usher (the two own Raymond-Braun Media Group together).
The signing of Mensa by Braun may initially seem like an odd pairing given Vic's underground hip-hop origins, but by now's it's certainly no secret that Mensa has been making moves geared more towards mainstream acceptance, from signing to the Roc to appearing in Beyoncé videos to collaborating with the likes of Skrillex and Ty Dolla $ign. But one only needs to glance at the SB Projects roster to know that Mensa is also going to face a challenge familiar to any artist signing to a huge manager - getting attention on a roster that not only includes established artists like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, and the Black Eyed Peas, but also rapidly growing acts such as Tori Kelly, Carly Rae Jepsen and Ariana Grande.
There is no denying Mensa's talents, especially with songs like the incredible title track off his new EP, There's Alot Going On. The simple reality though is that the currency of the music business isn't critical acclaim or being a dope MC, it's dollars and cents. And in order for Vic (or any other artist) to become a priority for a record label or management company, especially a management company where some artists, such as Justin Bieber, are a business within themselves, he will need to make music that generates streams, views and sales -- a feat that Mensa has yet to accomplish to the level of most of his SB peers.
For an alternative version of Vic's career with Scooter Braun by his side, take a look at Asher Roth. Roth was the first artist signed to Braun's Schoolboy Records. A true rapper at heart, Braun initially molded Roth into a frat boy hero of sorts with his hit single "I Love College."
Following the the rise and peak of the single, Asher all but fizzled out from a commercial perspective, which was rumored to be heavily driven by Braun's signing Justin Bieber and the Canadian pop star launching into mega superstardom, bringing in millions to the Braun operation but leaving Asher with far less of Braun's time and attention. It's interesting to note that Roth is still under Scooter Braun's management, but has largely become an underground rapper, touring relentlessly but never again coming close to the success of his first single. Since Roth, Braun has never successfully guided another rapper (no, we don't count Psy) to commercial success.
Will Vic Mensa's play for ramped up, big time success pay off or backfire? Can this skillful, socially conscious MC get the attention he deserves alongside multi-platinum selling artists? Let's hope this new deal never sees Mensa down on his luck...
By @brokencool, native Torontonian
Photo Credit: Instagram