While Vic Mensa's music has been taking on a more conscious, political tone of late, one of the most startling lines from his powerful There’s A lot Going On EP mentioned a situation where he nearly killed himself.
On the album’s title track, he raps, “I did acid in the studio one day and almost killed myself.”
In a recent interview with the Phoenix New Times, the Chicago lyricist revealed what led to his life-threatening episode. Starting in 2013, Mensa became dependent on various drugs as a crutch for finding creativity in the booth.
“I got to a point where I just felt like I needed drugs to write, to be creative, and thought it was psychedelic drugs. I did too much mushrooms, to the point where I couldn't even do it anymore, I would just have a bad trip. So this was sometime after that,” Mensa said. “But I was in the studio with some of my friends and we did acid and we started buggin' out, somehow things just took a really negative turn. I just felt really low and at the bottom of it, and I was on the ground trying to sink into the floor.
“Then I went outside and I went to my car. It was near Halloween and I had this toy pistol in my trunk, it was part of my costume. And I'm just glad it wasn't a real pistol. I was just thinking about bridges and all that suicidal shit. It scarred me for a while. I was definitely dealing with that bad trip for at least a year.”
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One bad acid trip nearly cost Vic Mensa his life.
It’s unclear if the Roc Nation signee has sworn off all drugs or if he has just stopped using acid, but this year we have already seen Royce Da 5’9” and Gucci Mane overcome their substance abuse addictions and channel that triumph and clarity into their music before elaborating in interviews. They aren’t the first artists to do so and they won’t be the last, but it’s still great to hear rappers unafraid to speak about the pitfalls of drugs instead of simply glorifying their usage.
It's also gratifying to hear a young, influential rapper debunk the idea of substance abuse being the only avenue to creativity. Royce Da 5'9" told DJBooth earlier this year that, while he was long dependent on alcohol, since kicking the habit he's able to concentrate on music for longer stretches of time.
Drug abuse can literally cost someone his or her life, and it’s gratifying to see Vic Mensa valuing his platform to speak about the issue in a way that doesn’t come across as preachy or judgmental.
Correction: We incorrectly (typo) published that Mensa began using drugs in 2003, when in fact he admitted to drug use beginning in 2013.
By William E. Ketchum III, on Twitter at @WEKetchum
Art Credit: Red Right Hand