Vic Spencer sits before white vertical blinds wearing shades and and hanging up a retro orange phone
Credit: Mani Orr

Chicago rapper Vic Spencer has built a catalog worthy of a book-length exposition, but for the time being I’ll restrict myself to a handful of observations about December’s Spencer for Higher 4 (Old Fart Luggage). One: UK rapper-producer Sonnyjim, who had a hand in every beat on the album, employs sumptuous sonics that help even Spencer’s most petulant turns go down easy and give his voluble verses a lived-in resplendence. Two: Spencer sometimes sounds like he’s dragging his raps across sandpaper, a gritty affectation that gives his declarative statements an iron backbone. On “GS3 Pt. 4,” he puts it more succinctly: “I got the voice of a leader.” Three: A harmless feud can be fun, especially if it produces the kind of amusingly twisted verses Spencer rolls out on “Ex Biggest Supporters.” Four: Spencer demands a lot from his comrades in hip-hop, but that doesn’t make him a hypocrite. He clearly demands just as much from himself, and I’m sure he’ll keep holding himself to underground hip-hop’s highest ideals on his next album too.

Vic Spencer’s Spencer for Higher 4 is available via Bandcamp.