Vic Mensa Talks Designing His Own Boot With Wolverine & Standing by His Beliefs: 'I'm Just Blessed to Be Awake'

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Vic Mensa's sense of fashion is a continuing evolution. After reducing off his braids earlier in 2018, the Chicago native has tapped into his skinhead psyche, which he's fast to level out has roots related to the Jamaican Rude Boys. Branching off of his profitable '93 Punks line, Mensa is collaborating with the Michigan-based Wolverine to craft his very personal designed boot. 

"I'm one of many solely individuals I do know that always sleeps in boots. It's been a aim of mine for a very long time to be designing some. I'm very excited to be in Chicago partnering with an organization that has vital historical past within the metropolis," says Vic. The distinctive 1000 Mile sneaker can be available on Wolverine's web site throughout spring 2019. 

Outside of his trend endeavors, the 25-year-old is placing the ending touches on his subsequent undertaking, which Mensa claims is slated to launch by yr's finish. Vic has been laborious at work with a variety of artists, starting from Ty Dolla $ign to Travis Barker and Charlie Wilson. 

The "16 Shots" rapper has additionally discovered himself within the headlines throughout current weeks, following a controversial BET cypher the place Mensa took purpose at XXXTentacion's abusive previous, and condemned followers' propensity to crown artists who're alleged abusers as nicely. Vic isn't going to again down from his phrases due to an outcry from a faction of the general public. "I simply stand by the issues I consider in, and if that upsets individuals -- which it usually does -- then we bought a scenario on our arms," he tells Billboard. 

Check out the remainder of our dialog with Vic Mensa, the place he touches on his upcoming collaboration with Wolverine, his new music, Joe Budden's criticism of him, and rather more. 

Billboard: How did this collaboration with Wolverine come collectively for the boot they have you ever designing?

Vic Mensa: I just about put on completely boots. I'm one of many solely individuals I do know that always sleeps in boots. It's been a aim of mine for a very long time to be designing some. I'm very excited to be in Chicago partnering with an organization that has vital historical past within the metropolis. Their leather-based is right here in Chicago, so we're going to be visiting their manufacturing facility. Everything is handmade within the Midwest. I like entities with heritage at residence. 

What do you take into account for targets of the collaboration?

I'm excited to see what we might put collectively. We're a variety of various things. We're doing a customized 1000 Mile sneaker. I'm interested by a variety of various things from Chelsea boots to cowboy boots, gothic boots and even fight boots. Maybe some silhouettes that form of mix sneakers with boots. I'm considering rugged street-wear. I've been combing via the Wolverine archives and commercials from the sixties and seventies. I'm seeking to take inspiration from designs of the previous and produce them into the long run. 

Talk to me about your basis SaveMoneySaveLife, which can obtain a portion of the gross sales. 

My basis primarily works in Chicago, and town wants a variety of assist. I'm glad that was in a position to be integrated into what I'm doing with Wolverine. It's necessary to maintain one foot firmly planted at residence and attempt to profit my individuals nicely.

Did you pull on any inspiration out of your current journey to Paris Fashion Week?

It's time for the Cuban heel. 

Are there any plans to mix the Wolverine collaboration along with your '93 Punks line?

One-hundred p.c. That's how I'm approaching designing these boots with Wolverine. My companion on '93 Punks Conrad does all the development and he's over right here with me now going via the method of choosing out leathers. 

What's been inspiring your new type this yr?

Skinheads. Lots of people don't acknowledge that the origin of skinhead is traced by to Jamaican Rude Boys. Original skinheads have been big reggae music followers. It didn't begin as a racist and violent factor. It was very impressed by totally different elements of black tradition and cultures of the Diaspora. I've been on my skinhead shit. 

Where are you at musically for the remainder of the yr? Are you prepping a undertaking?

I bought two initiatives within the works. One popping out earlier than the tip of this yr and one other popping out within the first couple months of subsequent yr. The first undertaking is finished and we're about to begin rolling that out. 

Is that first undertaking going to incorporate beforehand launched singles reminiscent of "Reverse?"

It will, however that's not essentially the sonic route [I'm going into] fully. 

What artists have you ever been working with lately that would land on the undertaking?

I've been working with a variety of my guys from Chicago. I've been working with Travis Barker additionally. I used to be within the studio with Joel Madden from Good Charlotte. Definitely have a loopy dope Charlie Wilson function on the upcoming undertaking. Worked with Ty Dolla $ign as nicely. Me and Lil Herb bought a joint too. 

What did you consider Chance The Rapper pledging $1,000,000 to Chicago's psychological well being providers?

It's nice. That's superb as a result of psychological well being providers and actual consideration to [mental health] doesn't actually exist very a lot in our group. Mental well being may be very stigmatized within the black group. For good motive -- [it's] created by a historical past of trauma that has been manipulated towards us, and damaging stereotypes such because the loopy black man and loopy black girl. I believe it's one thing we have to develop previous.

I noticed you talking out towards Gary McCarthy for mayor of Chicago this yr. Do you intend on backing progressive candidate Amara Enyia, like Chance The Rapper has, within the race?

Gary McCarthy is finally disrespectful. He's only a soiled canine. I don't even know the place he's coming from. I believe he simply needs to offend individuals. After such a nasty scandal within the homicide of Laquon McDonald and Jason Van Dyke's conviction, it's simply form of like step down, man. Go change your identify and run in Idaho. I'm not endorsing anybody right now. I did meet with Amara the opposite day and I'd vote for her, 100 p.c. 

Do you see the Jason Van Dyke conviction as justice being served?

The proven fact that his fees are probation-able means he most likely will get probation, and received't spend that a lot time in jail. I don't contemplate it justice, however I believe it's perhaps the closest resemblance of justice that we've seen in current instances -- or ever, actually. That's fully unprecedented, for them to even be convicted. To contextualize it, Jason Van Dyke might do six years on probation for emptying that clip into a baby, whereas my man James Warren is going through 31 [years] to life for taking pictures somebody within the leg. Look at that and inform me what's justice. 

What did you consider the court docket room taking part in your "16 Shots" video through the trial?

I believed that was advanced as a result of for a second -- I felt a means that they have been making an attempt to make use of my artwork to argue that he must be moved to the suburbs, the place he might get an all-white jury. There was just one black juror on his case within the first place, which is ridiculous as it's. It additionally let me know that I used to be being heard, and the issues we have been doing within the metropolis have been making an affect. That's necessary. I believe the entire Jason Van Dyke scenario reveals perhaps we've extra energy than we'd have beforehand thought. 

Did you're feeling a generational divide following the backlash you obtained from a lot of the youth relating to your feedback about XXXTentacion and abusers within the BET cypher?

I believe persons are individuals. I'm not generalizing, [not] going to place anyone in a field due to their age. They're going to consider various things. I simply stand by the issues I consider in and if that upsets individuals, which it usually does, then we bought a scenario on our arms. Everybody is okay and secure. I'm simply blessed to be awake. 

Joe Budden had some harsh criticism for you on The Joe Budden Podcast. He even mentioned one thing alongside the traces of, "I by no means wish to hear from Vic once more."

That's information to me. I like Joe Budden although. I don't watch or learn that stuff, that's probably not the place I'm at with it. I didn't even know he had a podcast.