Vic Spencer, DJ 4, DJ Royal | Subterranean | Hip-Hop | Chicago Reader

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When: Sat., Dec. 17, 10 p.m. 2016

Vic Spencer will be the first one to tell you that he’s irked folks within the local hip-hop scene plenty. He gets to it early on the new St. Gregory (Perpetual Rebel), kicking off “Vincente Fernandez” with some solemn bars: “Vic Spencer, the old fart is nutty / About five years ago I was everybody’s buddy / Now I’m Chicago’s hated, I should be dead / But I’m still here, so that is a remarkable statement.” On Twitter Spencer boasts about and criticizes different factions of the local scene—be it Logan Square hot spot East Room or south-side MC Mick Jenkins, a feud that wound up inspiring a brief back-and-forth in song—which makes him come off as inordinately brash. But Spencer is a hip-hop lifer, and I like to believe that at the core of his screeds is the belief that everyone behind the mike should aspire to work harder. Spencer certainly holds himself to that notion on St. Gregory, throughout the album pushing himself to make every word count. On “Suede Legend” his lyrics spew forward like a cartoon character sprinting atop water, oblivious to the fact that physics demands he should have sunk seconds ago. Spencer isn’t a total castaway in the scene, however—St. Gregory features a rare appearance by Uptown hip-hop legend E.C. Illa.

Leor Galil

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