In a new interview with Big Boy, Mensa was asked to share the best advice that JAY-Z—the man who signed him to a record deal at Roc Nation—has given him since the two started working together.
According to Mensa, one of the 13 songs on his forthcoming debut, The Autobiography, which is due this Friday, July 28, originally contained a bar that dissed another emcee.
"There was a situation where I had a line that was kind of dissin' somebody else and it wasn't really necessary," explained Mensa. "And I just wanted it [on the track] because it was a good bar... [but] I took it off. I didn't want to take it off, at all. I played it for [Jay] and he didn't really say to take it off—we was all having a conversation about it, me, him and Dion and everybody in the room—and then, later on, he hit me after thinking about it, and he was like, 'You know, I think you should take [that line] off [the song]."
In the past, Vic has taken shots at Drake, Lil Yachty and Travis Scott, among others, but most of those instances occurred, by his own admission, while Vic was battling through drug addiction and contemplating suicide. To write that he wasn't exactly in the right frame of mind would be an understatement.
With a new lease on life, free from drugs and all the trappings of the rock star lifestyle that fueled his original death spiral, Mensa took Jay's advice to heart.
"I went and tried [but] didn't like none of the alternatives and I'm like, 'Man, I'm going to keep that one on there,'" Vic continued, adding, "And [Jay] told me something that was a really good piece of advice for me to grow from. He told me, 'Do you, but what you're doing won't work out in your favor because your heart is not in it. The universe only works one way.' And that made me think because my man managed the kid and I was dissin' another rapper, really, for no reason. And that just kinda shifted my perspective on and I'm like, 'I don't need to be tearin' down another young black man regardless of whether I like the music or not.'"
If anyone knows the value of avoiding silly and unnecessary beef—Robert De Niro, anyone?—it's a 20-plus-year veteran of the music business like Hov. And as Mensa acknowledged later in the interview, had he refused to remove the line from the album, instead of talking about his growth and maturity, the focus of his interview would be on the controversy surrounding one lone bar.
Vic Mensa has been in our lives since 2010, first as a member of Kids These Days and later as a solo artist, so it's easy to forget that seven years later, he's still only 24 years old. With age and experience comes wisdom—and, luckily for Vic, JAY-Z.