Vic Mensa has been blowing up since he dropped his debut solo mixtape, INNANETAPE, in September, and down at SXSW XXL caught up with the 2014 Freshman hopeful after he absolutely crushed the stage at the MTV Woodie Awards. We spoke to one of Chicago's leading newcomers about the art of performing, touring Europe with Danny Brown, and what he's got in the pipeline for the rest of the year. Savemoney everything. —Dan Rys (@danrys)

XXL: How's SXSW going so far?
Vic Mensa: This shit's crazy. It's turnt the fuck up. This is my favorite SXSW so far.

Tell me about that show at The Woodies just now.
That shit was hella fun. I think I brought two girls out on stage...and a blow up doll. So that's three girls. Or is that, like, two and a half?

What was the first show you ever performed?
It was at a barn. In Iowa. Yeah, at this homemade festival, with Kids These Days. It was dope, we were just gettin' fucked up. My first solo show might have been opening for Mac Miller at Reggie's in Chicago. That was when Mac Miller was doing 500 capacity venues.

What's the biggest thing you've learned about performing since then? Because you just brought a blow up doll on stage...
Have fun. Have fun. The day that I learned to really have fun was the day that I got it right. It was at this music festival called Red Sky in Arkansas [Ed Note: Red Sky Festival is actually in Nebraska] It was like, I just started wilin' out, you know what I'm saying? I was just like, wait, this is better.

You were just in Europe with Danny Brown, right? What's the difference between European and American crowds?
Yeah, it was a lot of fun. They're mad. Mad, like wild, like crazy. They just turn the fuck up in Europe. I mean, literally, they turn the fuck up in comparison to American crowds. They appreciate this shit. They appreciate all that shit, everything.

What's been the response to your new songs like "Feel That"?
It was dope, man. We're gonna drop the video and really get it moving.

What else do you have going on this year?
Savemoney everything. Savemoney water bottles. Pantyhose, for the girlfriends...and non-girlfriends, alike. Just music, on that Savemoney shit.

You got a project in the works?
Yeah. I've been workin' with a lot of people, man. Kaytranada. I gotta hit that fool up right now.

You're up for the Freshmen 10 Spot. Got any message for your fans?
I'm the best. May the best man win. It only makes sense, fuck with ya boy. Nah, but shout out to everybody, and just vote. Like my brother said, the most important thing is that you use that voice you have. And vote for the real shit.