Vic Mensa released his first new project in three years today, the seven-song EP There’s Alot Going On. A good deal of the project addresses the heavy subject of violence in Chicago, specifically the police killing of black teen Laquan McDonald that was covered up for months by the city.
Mensa also proves himself to be something of a Harry Potter fan by the very first track. Less than a month after Chance the Rapper name-dropped Peter Pettigrew on Coloring Book’s “How Great,” Mensa has flashed his fan credentials with “Dynasty”: "Get your priorities straight like Hermione Granger."
Mensa and Chance are both from Chicago and have worked together before, so maybe it’s not a coincidence that they’ve had Harry Potter on the brain lately. J.K. Rowling’s series is about magic and wizards, but on a deeper level it’s about fighting evil despite bureaucratic obstruction. Harry, Ron, and Hermione have to square off with the corrupt Ministry of Magic all the time in the books, and Chicago’s current political administration really isn't any better.
Name-dropping Hermione makes for a fun turn of phrase, but it’s also thematically resonant with the rest of the EP, which addresses evils from police brutality to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It’s not really that surprising that Midwestern artists would have Harry Potter in mind as their elected officials fail them time and time again.