I originally wasn’t going to bother with this since I heard nothing about the mixtape other than it sounded like a poor man’s Chance the Rapper, but after having exhausted Acid Rap after memorizing every line and spontaneous “RAWHH!” through repeated listens of its drug-fueled frolicking, I needed a new Chance fix. Glancing at the tracklist and seeing his name, I downloaded INNANETAPE immediately and proceeded straight to “Tweakin.'” You know those songs that you play over and over again, probably to the detriment of how much you’ll like the song later, but you just can’t help it? Yeah, that’s this right here. And surprisingly, though Chance does flash his greatness (“I seen too many pyramids, that’s far from Khufu / Foo-foo niggas…” before proceeding to rhyme “reggo” with “let’s go” and “medical” and “egg roll” and “Petco”; “I’m a lunatic inside a loony bin”; “I’m moving in / Ooh a condominium, condom in ya enema”), Vic Mensa manages to best him, mostly because Chance the Rapper crashes like early Kendrick (“They say a smart man looks like a mad man to a dumb man / But one man – WAIT I’M TWEAKIN’!”).
Meanwhile, in the first verse, Vic Mensa steals a page from Earl Sweatshirt’s book (“Slapping a paraplegic with a pair of crutches / Or wiping my ass with Rosie O’Donnell’s moustache”) before impressively rhyming “Aardvark” with “Nardwuar” with “Warhol” with “Narwhal” with “smart car” (even if “I’m an author, not the aardvark” would’ve made slightly more sense than “I’m an author without the aardvark”). On the second verse, he tightens up, moving from Childish Gambino-type introspection to Eminem’s psychotic humour in the blink of an eye: “I don’t want to fight / I just want a quiet life and a nice little suburban place to cry at night / And an eye-dropper filled to the top with cyanide / So my psychiatrist dies soon as she tries her sprite /SIKE!” And the slabs of synth in the beat is plenty addicting; could’ve easily replaced one of the weaker cuts on Acid Rap and only made that mixtape better.
Unfortunately, “Tweakin'” turns out to be an anomaly, and it’s clear why INNANETAPE was completely glossed over by critics despite more Chance being exactly what people would have wanted in the unlikely success of Acid Rap. Though Vic Mensa does continue to impress lyrically (ie. the second verse of “Orange Soda”, the line “Urban disturbin’ turban-totin’ terrorist smokin’ potent” on “Lovely Day”), it’s hard to notice or even care because the beats aren’t worth talking about, let alone rapping over. Cam from J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League handles a big chunk of the tracks, and each of those sound like they were leftovers that Chance didn’t want. Elsewhere, we’ve already heard DJ Dahi’s “YNSP” on Freddie Gibbs’ “Bout It Bout It” (on Baby Face Killa), and Gibbs did it more justice. (Not to mention the beat just … sounded better?) And you wouldn’t know Hit-Boy – one of the best banger-makers in the business – produced “That Nigga” unless someone told you; it couldn’t bang anyone even with several pills of viagra flowing through its veins. The only exceptions aside from “Tweakin'” is “Lovely Day”‘s coda and the sheer strangeness of “RUN!”; full on paranoia brought on by a growling Mensa (“AND I’M COMING TO GET YOU!”) that somehow ends up on the dancefloor in the bridge before the chase continues.