Today Prefix premieres three new efforts by the Chicago MC Vic Spencer: a mixtape, a music video, and an unreleased track from the rapper’s upcoming full-length album. Spencer is part of a burgeoning group of Chicago underground artists that offer an alternative to the local “drill” music being popularized by Chief Keef, King L and Lil Durk. Chance the Rapper (from the Save Money collective) and producer/MC Tree are other notable figures from this enclave.
Vic’s new Perpetual Rebel-curated tape, The Catalog Don, is, in his own words, a “Grade A duffel” of the best work he has done over the past three years. It’s also peppered with some unreleased tracks. The rapper’s subject matter and flow shifts impressively on a song-to-song basis; his lyrics are a unique mixture of cocky jibes, absurdist rants (sometimes approaching classic-era Wayne-level free association) and evocative vignettes. Spencer vacillates between nihilistic imaginings that would be at home on an Odd Future record (his raspy taunts and use of “___ as fuck” will inevitably bring Tyler’s better work to mind), speech-effusive outbursts reminiscent of Gunplay or Redman and ear-catching DOOM-style wordplay. The beats on the record are mostly mid-tempo boom-bap, but their traditional cadences are always enhanced by some unusual sonic element: usually either obtrusive synth textures (sweeping phased-out pads or hyperactive arpeggiators) or oddly sliced samples.
The Catalog Don has no shortage of standout tracks, but I’d recommend “Kiss My Ass From Spain” from the Spence Ethic tape and the first of the two 2011 Chance the Rapper collaborations included here, “National Geographical.” Another notable moment is new track “Sheezy,” which features Vic stunting over an imitation Lex Luger trap beat, demonstrating that he can beat the drill kids at their own game. Suliaman’s impressive flow also gives one high hopes for his upcoming second collaborative album with Vic, We’re Still Disappointed, due out May 31st.
“[The Catalog Don] was created for new fans just getting in tune with me and this ethic of mines,” Vic told me. “I feel like this is a ‘get to know Vic Spencer’ type of mixtape.” Please take a listen below.
Vic is also premiering a new video today for a track off of his December tape, Spence Ethic, which did not make it onto The Catalog Don. In it, Vic, Suliaman and East Side rapper D2G showcase their skills in front of some notable Chicago landmarks. The beat is from the French producer IKAZ.
The Rapping Bastard leak “Owe,” our final Vic Spencer debut of the day, is a spirited monologue delivered atop a psychedelic-soul instrumental provided by DJ/producer Dr. LaFlow. Vic packs as many words into a line as possible, discusing everything from the benefits of school smarts to the prowess of Sade to his dislike for the term “mixtape.” The title of the song is taken from its final series of couplets, wherein Vic raps about his love for his six-year-old daughter. If “Owe” and “Sheezy” are any indication, The Rapping Bastard could be Spence’s most mature and creative work to date.