Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine

Vic Mensa Talks About His Journey with Mental Health, What Inspires Him, and What’s to Come

 

In a culture that denounces talk of mental health, Vic Mensa is one rapper breaking the stigma.

 

At around 22-years-old, Mensa sat in his car near a cliff contemplating driving it off the edge. 17 years of pain had been weighing on his shoulders at the time. “I’d been feeling suicidal since I was 5-years-old,” the rapper recalls. “I was just like, this will never end.”

 

Mensa expressed that fear was instilled in him, especially at that point in his life. Sitting on the edge of that cliff, fear was steering the ship. Years later, the GRAMMY-nominated artist reflects on his fear and uses guided meditation to release his attachments to the past.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Sweater: Dries Van Noten Jean: Vintage Levi Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Sweater: Dries Van Noten Jean: Vintage Levi Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)

Dr. Joe Dispenza is an integral part of releasing this fear for him. Dispenza studies and specializes in relating spirituality to quantum physics. The doctor’s 1 hour and 15 minutes guided meditation is a tool that has significantly helped Mensa on his mental health journey and released the fear he had during that near-death experience.

“It’s been amazing for me because it’s helped me to put my survival and my life in a context of gratitude,” Mensa said. “I now recognize that I was never alone. We’re never alone, we’re always accompanied by spirits, by our ancestors, by God. It’s up to us to recognize it.”

In certain cultures, particularly in cultures of color, mental health is known to be stigmatized. Many black men and women come to be labeled as crazy or angry if certain things may be mentioned regarding mental hygiene. Mensa is hopeful for a day to come where society prioritizes mental health.

 

Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Coat: The Incorporated Pants: Fendi Necklace: Stylist's own
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Coat: The Incorporated Pants: Fendi Necklace: Stylist's own

“The people in our communities are mentally in disarray and distress,” Mensa stresses. “We should be having resources that are providing free mental health care.”

Apart from being an advocate for putting better systems in place for access to mental health services, the rapper is also passionate about criminal justice system reform. Mensa often shares videos on his Instagram advocating for people with wrongful or iniquitous convictions. When it comes to standing up for what’s right, Mensa believes that the delivery is just as important as the message.

“I feel there’s a difference between standing up for what’s right then judging somebody for doing what’s wrong. That’s where I’ve had to learn.” Mensa said.

In addition to being close to his community, the artist is touched by including cultures close to him in his art. His uncle is legendary Highlife legend Kofi Sammy, the genre truly inspires Mensa. Highlife originates from Ghana in the 19th century. While visiting Ghana, the rapper was inclined to base his newest music on the category.

Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Jeans: Philosophy Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own) Shoe: Valentino
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Jeans: Philosophy Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own) Shoe: Valentino
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Jeans: Philosophy Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own) Shoe: Valentino
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Jeans: Philosophy Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own) Shoe: Valentino

The soundscape of his newest music, titled “King of the Slum” is very inspired by his uncle’s music. The record will also be keeping up with recent times, and be released as an NFT. Mensa took to Instagram, stating, “I’m excited to share King Of The Slum as my first real foray into the metaverse space.”

In addition to being inspired by his uncle, Mensa says he wishes to collaborate with Andre 3000 in the near future and uses manifestation to make all his collab dreams come to fruition. He recalls this method working in reaching his goal to work with Pharrell.

“Every time I was asked years upon years, ‘who would you like to collaborate with?’ I always said Pharrell,” the rapper said. “Pharrell, Pharrell, Pharrell, until it came around and I did amazing shit with Pharrell. So, I’m saying Andre 3000. I’ll write that shit out on a chalkboard.”

Until then, what’s next for Vic Mensa is his album and a project with Chance the Rapper. He states, “[the album] is almost done, and I’m excited to get it out to people.”

Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Top: Dries Van Noten Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Top: Dries Van Noten Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Top: Dries Van Noten Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)
Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Top: Dries Van Noten Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)

Photography: @mahaneela.jpg
Styling: @jasonbolden
Produced by @helioprgroup.
Video by @nycgoblin.

Vic Mensa - Contrast Magazine
Top: Paco Rabanne Jean: Philosophy Jewelry: Vintage (Stylist's own)
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