Famous for his lyrics that always go beyond the limit, whether it’s a diss or a controversy, the Chicago-born rapper always
gets the last word. After the release of Hooligans, Mensa continues to give back with his charity project Save Money
Foundation, which benefits from the same laser focus as his rhymes. Read on to learn more about the life lessons that have
shaped the soul of his latest solo album. ̋
How has coming from a mixed culture family influenced your percep- tion of the world around you?
Having educated parents of such different backgrounds meant I grew up in a household that was simultaneously listening to
The Who and Fela Kuti, discussing politics and literature. It gave me a very worldly perspective. ̋
How and when did you realize that you wanted to be a rapper? ̋
I was 15 when I realized I wanted to be a rapper. I just started writing about the things I saw outside. I wanted to impact
people the way 2PAC impacted me. ̋
Talking about the good you do in your life, could you kindly share with us some info about your project, the SaveMoney
My foundation is called Save Money Save Life and it is focused on innova- tive solutions to systemic issues in my community
and other marginalized communities. We’re currently running a program on the south side of Chi- cago called Street Medix,
teaching first-aid response to gunshot wounds and mental health trauma. ̋
Are there any emerging rap artists that you listen to? ̋
Yeah, I have been listening to my brother KAMI a lot and to Lud Foe. There’s also this dude named Jean Dawson, he raps
sometimes but it’s way more rock influenced. ̋
Can you talk about some epic moments while recording Hooligans that will stay with you forever?
When I was recording Rowdy, we were having a cookout on the roof at my place and we had this Grill Master flown in from
like Tennessee or something. He was a 300-pound, white southern dude who hung with cou- ntry musicians and shit, he was
in the studio with us all night turning up. That shit was hilarious. ̋
What was it like being part of the “#WANGSQUAD”? What brands are you fascinated by lately?
The Alexander Wang shit was super dope. That was a while ago now. I love what he does. ̋
Right now, I love Vêtements, Rick Owens always, I’ve been wearing a lot of Von Dutch hats… I’m launching a line this spring
with my next album, it’s called 93PUNX, so I’m always wearing that. ̋
How do you think your style has evolved between the release of your albums The Autobiography and Hooligans?
I would say that I was more focused on hooks and songs on Hooligans, whe- reas The Autobiography was so hyper-focused
on the story line. ̋
On your Instagram account you stated: “NYE resolution: wear bigger pants & say less.” Even if it is only the beginning
of the year, are you keeping the promise?
LOL! I have on Carhartt pants today and I haven’t said half of the shit I wanted to yet, so I’d say yes. ̋
What are your most imminent projects? ̋
93PUNX is a side project I am doing that accompanies the clothing line, which is comprised of all the elaborate leather jackets
I wear, a lot of the vintage tees on my IG and just overall a lot of dope shit. ̋
Have you ever thought about acting? ̋
I am actually talking to my guy Saul Williams about doing a film with him right now and writing a screenplay of my own.
Definitely going to be entering that world this year. ̋
What do you wish for American society? ̋