The Come Up: Vic Mensa

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On Growing Up In Chicago’s Hyde Park:

Vic Mensa: It’s not that different from growing up on the rest of the South Side, but in a lot of ways it’s very similar. Not necessarily right here [at the University of Chicago]. Hyde Park is divided more or less into two halves, geographically but also in terms of class. University Hyde Park is a completely different Hyde Park than where I spent a lot my formative hip-hop type years. I don’t really get along well with the university’s context. More often than not they just tear down things that mean shit to me.

But growing up in Hyde Park was dope as fuck though. I spent a lot of time up here and I spent time on 53rd, that’s where I got introduced to so much hip-hop. It was just fun to come through and sneak into the Lab School and talk to bitches and shit. I had a lot of fun growing up in Hyde Park. We threw water balloons at kids. I painted my name on the outside of an abandoned church. I tried to shoot a video inside that church. I had the wildest story of coming out of there and getting chased by the cops. I climbed up to the top of the roof, jumped over a couple of rooftops and climbed down a fire escape and like shimmied away GI Joe style and a bunch of university students who were in the church taking Tumblr pictures all got arrested.

I went to a Jewish preschool in Hyde Park. I didn’t know it was Jewish, but it was cool. A lot of kids there weren’t Jewish. I think it’s cool for kids to grow up like that, since kids don’t know about race. Once they get older then they start to adopt more of their race roles and prejudices. But Hyde Park was a good place to live for all kinds of people together.