Discussing mental health, drug addiction, and the recent passing of Lil Peep, Mensa made a callous yet salient point: “Lil Peep’s death didn’t really make me think about myself very much. It made me think a little bit more about people around me.”
“I look at my own situation differently because I didn’t create an identity for myself out of my explicit drug use,” Mensa continued, making reference to his own struggles with prescriptions. “I created an identity and maybe at points in time addiction has played a role in it, but I see my situation being different. As tragic as it is to lose young artists and young people in general, every action has a consequence. And when your identity revolves around abusing prescription drugs, you will die from overdosing on prescription drugs. Point blank. You know? It’s not surprising. Like I said, it’s still tragic, but it doesn’t make me have a new lens on my own life because I’m not caught off guard.”
Mensa’s approach here errs on the side of short-sightedness. No one asks to be an addict. And certainly no one asks to suffer from mental illness. As a vocal advocate for social equality, Mensa is no stranger to the structural factors that push people towards drug selling, use, and addiction. Why these insights are near-absent from this interview remains unclear.
Earlier in the interview, the Chicago native admitted that people aren’t given the proper coping mechanisms for their mental illnesses, going so far as the say the manufacturers of Xanax should be, on some level, held accountable. Yet, that nuance is sadly missing from his take on Lil Peep’s passing.
“When friends of mine that spend all their time drinking lean and poppin’ pills start having seizures, I just pray they get better and try to talk to them,” Mensa added. “But, you know, my perspective isn’t shifted because I recognize that things you do, they affect you— and some stories have an obvious outcome.”
Lil Peep’s passing may have been obvious to some, but it was still heartbreaking to all. Vic Mensa is on the cusp of having a productive dialogue regarding drug use and its complicated relationship with mental health, having himself openly spoken about his use of medication.
His hard-nosed approach may be a coping mechanism in its own right, but we should still demand more from those with the loudest voices.