April 28, 2015 – 21-year-old Chicago rapper Vic Mensa, whose real name is Victor Kwesi Mensah, has officially signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation Records.
The announcement was made on Twitter last Tuesday and at a ceremony streamed exclusively on TIDAL. His single with Kanye West, titled “U Mad”, was released on Roc Nation Monday as a single.
Mensa, a founding member of the Chicago hip-hop collective SAVEMONEY, has been a hot new name among fans and critics, notably after his recent work alongside West.
He was also featured in the So Help Me God track “Wolves” alongside Sia, which was premiered by the three of them during New York Fashion Week. He later performed the collaboration live on Saturday Night Live.
In a tweet confirming the announcement, Mensa rubbished any rumour that he might leave the SAVEMONEY crew as he has signed a major label deal. With the announcement broadcasted on TIDAL, fingers are crossed to see if Jay Z would include clauses in Vic’s deal to provide exclusives for the service or at least be active in promoting it. This would help bring a fresh face to the service that many fans could relate to instead of trying to have millionaire artists get paid a little more.
Vic Mensa has not released a full-length album since his independently released 2010 effort, ‘Straight Up’. He released a well-received mixtape in 2013—INNANETAPE—that helped put the Chicago rapper on the map.
The signing could be an indication that beyond the various Kanye West collaborations, Mensa is prepping a major label full-length release. With access to the Roc Nation’s resources and producing talent, the new material coming from Mensa should be superior if he is able to approach it unhindered.
Mensa was born in Chicago, Illinois, to a Ghanaian father and a White mother. His mother, Betsy Mensah, works in the Chicago Public Schools system and his father, Edward Mensah, is an Economics professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Mensa recalls rock and roll, especially The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, as some of his earliest music memories.
It was not until fifth grade that Mensa started to take a liking to rap and hip-hop music. Mensa was a good student who attended the Whitney Young Magnet High School. His music career has taken him places.