The Roc was in the building as Vic Mensa presented his debut album The Autobiography at a showcase at Mack Sennett Studios in Los Angeles on Thursday night (July 13). The industry crowd, which included tastemakers, press, and even Beyoncé and JAY-Z—packed the dimly-lit studio to get a first listen to the Roc Nation MC’s long-awaited project.

As guests sipped D’USSÉ cocktails, executive producer No I.D. and Mensa’s manager Scooter Braun took the stage to introduce the 24-year-old Chicago rapper before bringing out Mr. Carter, who stepped away from his newborn twins, Sir and Rumi, to celebrate his multi-talented signee.

“Vic is a very special talent,” said JAY. “He can do everything. Sing well, rap well, he even engineers himself sometimes. He’s an incredible artist, like a once-in-a-lifetime artist.”

Mensa took the mic to say a few words about The Autobiography, which features Pharrell, Weezer, Syd, The-Dream, Pusha T, Chief Keef, and more. “This album is really my blood, sweat, and tears, and everything that I’ve learned up to this point in life,” he explained. “I kinda had to go through a lot of different things to even be able to put this album down on wax.”

Through the politically and emotionally-charged 15 tracks, Mensa shares his trials and tribulations, which he hopes will connect with fans. “The things I’m saying in it are so personal and so real to me, but I want to make it in a way that everybody could relate those situations to their own lives. We’re all human, we all go through the same things. This is just my story. It’s the autobiography,” he said before playing nine tracks.

Following the playback, he performed three songs live including “Wings” featuring Pharrell Williams, “The Fire Next Time,” and the Ty Dolla $ign-assisted “We Could Be Free,” on which he was accompanied by an orchestra.

“Sometimes I wake up and I look up in the sky, asking why I’m alive when so many ni**as die,” he sings. “But my pride won’t let me give up / Lord, as hard as I try.”

The Autobiography arrives July 28.

@vicmensa performs #WeCouldBeFree off his debut album #TheAutobiography

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