With America’s 2020 presidential elections around the corner, Chicago’s multi-faceted man of unapologetic controversy Vic Mensa has risen to the occasion for a few political stances of his own outside of the ballots.
“3 Years Sober,” Vic’s latest single celebrating his sobriety period, employs his own 93PUNX group, Blink-182’s Travis Barker, and all the grunge-slash-hip-hop crossbreeding that rap and rock fans alike would appreciate. For the track’s visual, however, Vic swivels the shock value toward a new target: the unsightly faces of American bigotry.
From the video’s opening scene, Vic amps the attention up as he sits in front of a mirror in nothing but a towel and applies makeup to his face. A red pop of lipstick and long, fluttery eyelashes later, and Vic is settling his freshly-shaved head into a blonde wig and fixing his tattooed physique into a bodycon Confederate flag dress, fishnet tights and red high heel pumps.
The remainder of the video takes aim at several contemporary American iniquities in rather overt symbolism. Before we know it, he’s found in the kitchen struggling in a tug-of-war with notorious anti-womanist, anti-abortion advocate vice president Mike Pence over a pack of birth control. Vic escapes Pence’s clutches only to run into two men who physically attack him in plain sight on the street. They eventually incapacitate Vic and snatch his wig away from him, proceeding to use a black marker to vandalize his face with slurs.
The ambushed Vic finds himself in a diner next, which is unfortunately packed with BBQ Beckys a.k.a. police-weaponizing white women. Mimicking the actual BBQ Becky herself, they’re all holding phones to their ears to report his existence to the cops as Vic makes his way through the diner and to the women’s bathroom. There, he’s snared yet again by police, who drags a crimeless, resistant Vic out of the restaurant and brutally slams him onto a cruiser.
Despite the “Reverse” artist’s patent motif and messages throughout the visual, Vic clarified the overarching theme of the video in a statement to viewers.
"The '3 Years Sober' video is a statement about identity,” he said. “I put on a confederate flag dress to be able to laugh at a symbol of hate, and played tug of war with Mike Pence over birth control. I had my face written on to get ahead of everything I know people will say about me and had a diner full of BBQ Becky’s call the police on me for using the women’s bathroom. I know some in hip hop culture will see this and say ‘Vic’s gay' (which I’m not), whereas if I was white they’d just say 'he’s a rockstar.' 93PUNX is about being yourself, f**k what people think.”
See how much symbolism you can catch in Vic’s “3 Years Sober” visual below.
(Photo: YouTube/ Vic Mensa)