Even before Vic Mensa’s 2017’s debut LP, The Autobiography, the rapper had a reputation for his outspokenness regarding law enforcement’s unjust treatment of black Americans. The Hooligans EP (the rapper’s first project since The Autobiography) opens with “Dancing in the Streetz,” a song with a pointed message for anyone unclear about his investment: “If the law don’t kill me first, the doors commit suicide/They gon’ shoot me if I don’t or if I do comply/At least I’ll die a black messiah even if I’m crucified.”
If Mensa is, indeed, concerned about his legacy, Hooligans is a dynamic portrait of the artist, addressing his struggles with substance abuse and mental health (“Dark Things”) and relationships (“In Some Trouble,” “The 1 That Got Away/No Shoes”); it even makes time for some good old-fashioned flexing on “Reverse.” Mensa has always been a man with a lot to say, but midway through the EP, he yields the floor to a gaggle of anonymous detractors by way of threatening voicemail messages. He saves the last word for himself, however, on “Rowdy”: Alongside fellow Chicago native G Herbo, he reminds his critics that he’s still the kid from the South Side, shouting at them, “F**k up the street!/Run up, tweak/Call the police/The problem is me!”


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