Vic Spencer Credit: courtesy the artist

The world may never catch up to Chicago rapper Vic Spencer—not that he seems to mind. He’s been dependably prolific and undeniably fierce on the mike throughout 2018, starting with January’s Spencer for Higher, a collaboration with UK producer SonnyJim. Since then, he’s dropped three solo albums: June’s Duffle of Gems, August’s A Smile Killed My Demons (which you could only get by sending Spencer $20 via PayPal), and November’s compact Stupid, which he released on the Backcourt label. On Stupid Spencer raps as if he’s competing with himself—throughout his tough-as-nails performances and vital verses he delivers lines that could either draw a chuckle or land a punch in the gut. Though Spencer’s flow is distinct to the degree that I can anticipate when he might pause to take a breath between lines, I can never predict where he’ll take a song; he finds new nuance and life in the themes he’s been rapping about for years—even when he rags on other rappers or talks about living in group homes, he provides texture that makes his songs multidimensional. And he always says something about the world that he and I live in—and specifically the places around the city that we’ve both been—that helps me see things with a fresh perspective, such as when he raps about drinking and writing a song at the Tonic Room on “Monster Bride.”   v