Why Did Jay Z Sign Vic Mensa? Watch His Blackout Freestyle Over Roc Boys (Video)

Less than halfway into 2015, it’s already been a monster year for Vic Mensa. The multi-talented Chicago MC has collaborated with Kanye West twice, and was recently signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation. To some, the signing may have been a surprising move, but for Heads who have followed Mensa for some time it was a natural progression in what is becoming a transcendent journey.

Vic sat down with Sway in the Morning to discus his latest moves and touched on a number of topics. Early in the conversation, he speaks about the growth of Hip-Hop and how the single label for the genre (as opposed to multiple sub-genres) may be holding it back (4:30). The talks quickly shift to what the Save Money crew leader has learned from Jay Z since signing (5:00). Vic gives a detailed story about playing music for Jay Z for the first time and how quickly Jay discerned the Nirvana influence in the music, despite not knowing the group was Mensa’s biggest inspiration. It was then that Vic sensed everything was falling into place, as it should. Shortly thereafter, Vic and Sway speak about the video for Mensa’s song “Down On My Luck,” where the MC is allowed to replay several mishaps in a night until his luck takes a turn for the better (8:00). At ten minutes in, Vic discusses his upcoming project, Traffic, and how deeply personal the album is, saying he discloses things he would typically only confide to his closest friends.

After some audience questions, Sway and the crew play a game with Vic based on his song “U Mad,” featuring Kanye West, asking what things truly make him angry (19:30). He cites studio Stans, weak DJs in the club and more.

Once the games conclude, Vic goes to work, dropping a killer off the top freestyle, incorporating several references to topics that were discussed in the interview–all over Just Blaze’s “Roc Boys” beat from Jay Z’s American Gangster album (23:18). It’s an impressive display of Vic’s rhyming abilities and how quickly he’s able to assimilate info and think on his feet. Check out the video.

Related: Vic Mensa Releases the Official Version of His Kanye West Collaboration. U Mad? (Audio)