I swear, Vic Spencer has the formula for today’s rap fan: Churn out as much quality music as possible, all the while managing to establish a relatively new identity on each track; on each project. Certainly, on his new EP, Vision Pipes, produced by TDE in-house beat man, Rocket (who also sings), Spencer has carved out one more niche for himself. The funny thing, just as I will find myself getting accustomed to this “V-I,” another will show itself. No matter. Time to dive into Vision Pipes, which was released on July 4.
“The Special Move” – “I don’t wanna chase y’all/I don’t wanna race y’all/I don’t wanna face y’all/Fuck up out my face, dawg,” spits Spencer to start the EP. What stood out most about this unofficial intro is the production. The relative serenity of it contrasts with Spencer’s oft-aggressive flow, with some intermittent Rocket vocals in the background to provide a soft touch. A great start, indeed.
“Massive Takeover” - I’m conflicted. While not a huge fan of the beat, I do like Spencer’s flow and the vocals provided by Rocket. And that hook, though: “I tell you what/When I take over these mountaintops/The world is mine/The world is mine…” Everything but the production on this track does it for me, although I will admit that if pared down a little, it would feel a little “cleaner.”
“WW VIII”- If you’re remotely familiar with Spencer’s music, you should know that it is, well, you know, rather aggressive. “Chicago’s ODB” is how I describe Spencer’s work. “WW VIII” isn’t quite as gritty as some of his other tough tales, but it’s one of those tracks in which he puts on his storytelling hat and lets us have it. “This ain’t Rambo in 1988, you gonna need more than a fucking knife” ended Spencer’s first verse before Rocket jumped on, and killed another hook.
“Young World” – MAN. MAN. Spencer is one of the more emotionally vulnerable rappers you’ll hear (which isn’t a detriment at all), and he certainly delves into his feelings on this one. Rapping about the death and murder of two brothers, and attempted murder of another, Vic once again lets us in on a part of his life not usually made available on a music track. As per usual, Spencer is quick to flaunt his style and reminisce about prior sessions, along with his quest to conquer this relatively young world.
“Vampire Diaries Screwed (Rocket’s Solo)” - This sounds like something that didn’t make 808s & Heartbreak, and I don’t mean that as an insult. You see, I’m a huge fan of screwed (RIP DJ Screw) music. That goes for screwed R&B, as the slowed-down chords and vocals make for a unique listening experience. I’m still not entirely sure just what the hell the message behind this song is, but I still like it. A lot.
“House of Hope,” ft. Michael Anthony of THEMpeople – Rocket gifted Spencer with this damn production. It’s so dope that Spencer should release an instrumental version of this EP just so anyone who somehow didn’t listen to Vision Pipes can hear this beat. Whereas “Massive Takeover” sounded like it had too much going on, this beat is fucking insanely good. Michael Anthony of THEMpeople joined the fray to provide some vocals, but honestly, this track could have stood alone based on the merit of its production. Is that an 808 kick I hear? And a snare? Hi-hat, too? Just. So. Raw. Good on, Rocket. Good on.
“Planes, Trains & Passports” – If it weren’t for “House of Hope,” this track would easily have the best production on Vision Pipes. As far as the song goes, it’s a fitting ending to the EP. Spencer has never been shy to let listeners know that he’s simply “way mo’ fresher” than you, in all aspects of life, and while that surely drives some away, it likely draws more to his music. Undoubtedly my favorite line on this EP is on this track: “I’m with the youth, dropping the gems/And if they rob the Louis store and the belt fit me, I’mma cop it from them.” Telling it like it is.
Crazily enough, Spencer seems to be improving with each project. Teaming up with various producers and artists, he seems to be constantly trying to find ways to reach new ears. As a fan of music, I love this approach. It’s somewhat hard to say that Spencer operates outside of his comfort zone, because his confidence enables him to step into new forums with new people and lay down exactly what he wants to. Yeah, there will be hits and inevitable misses, but most impressive is that Spencer wants to evolve as an artist. Vision Pipes is available on Spencer’s Bandcamp page, and it’s one of those “pay-if-you-want-because-that-would-be-cool-but-if-not-at-least-listen-because-that-would-be-equally-cool” joints, so if you’re short on ends or want to listen before buying, you can download it for the freeski for now. Let’s hope to get more Vic Spencer dope in the future, and in addition, hats off to Rocket for the production and vocals, too. GoILL.