Album Review | Vic Spencer – Psychological Cheat Sheet 2

This album was released on March 26th this year. Vic Spencer is a Chicago MC who I first heard of around 2015 when Mick Jenkins dissed him with a song called Headass. I don’t think I actually heard any of his music until a couple years later. He had a really great feature on Denmark Vessey’s Sun Go Nova EP. He also had a really nice track on Blockhead‘s Free Sweatpants album from 2019. I listened to the first Psychological Cheat Sheet album from last year and thought it was pretty great, so I’m hoping this new one will be even better. Every track is produced by August Fanon.

There aren’t any tracks that I don’t like on this album, so I’ll just write about things in the proper order of the track list. He kicks things off right away with a highlight entitled 14 Days at Grant Hospital. The jazzy production is really hard hitting, and Vic Spencer’s heavy voice sounds great over it. I saw a review on RateYourMusic in which the author compared Vic to Sean Price, and now I can’t stop noticing the similarities. I just feel like Vic writes very similarly to Sean Price.

A motion picture, I don't know them niggas, I pour the liquor
A whole lot of rappers went to war with Victor
Understand that I haven't took a L yet
Weed growers look at me for the smell effect
I'm in the hood where nobody share guns
Handshake in the wilderness is how I bear arms
Sharpen up the knife when it's time for me to write
For the first time in my life I was carryin' white

I really like the way he puts lines together. I love how aggressive and angry he sounds most of the time.

No nigga around me is bumpin' y'all music
Y'all niggas clueless in this rap game, my shit stay exclusive
Spit uzis, none of you boys move me
I cruise past y'all lil' bitchass, this shit is a movie
Illusion of movement, the booster continues
We all gettin' this money nigga, we'll never look at the menu
We buy the whole fuckin' restaurant, this shit ain't a game
Niggas wait on they times with no signs of complaints
Love is love even when they decide to hate
They just mad that this nigga is straight

He killed this shit. The beat is pretty repetitive, but the actual loop itself is so good that I don’t even mind. The song is dope as hell to me. The following track, Visionware, is even better to me. I think the production here from August Fanon is amazing. It’s really melodic, and kind of celebratory-sounding. I love how smooth Vic’s flow is over it too.

Man that shit was sweet and treacherous
You had to be on your P's & Q's without questionin'
Every time I spit a bar I get a whole layer of extra skin
My arms lookin' fat as fuck, we 'bout to go flex again

The song is just under two minutes long, and Vic’s pretty much rapping the entire time. There’s no hook or bridge or anything, so it’s just one great verse over a fire ass beat. I think the song’s dope af. Track 3 is called The Unforgiven. I don’t love this one quite as much as the preceding couple, but it’s still dope. It’s structured the exact same way as those two songs too, so I don’t really have much to say about it. The verse is really dope though, and the beat is cool. I just don’t think the beat is as amazing as some of the others on this album, but it’s still above average. I fuck with the song. It’s pretty good. It’s followed by a major highlight entitled Hades Was a Hoe. I love the production here. The jazzy, yet dramatic instrumental sounds like it should play in the background of a stealth scene in a James Bond film. The rapping here from Vic is fire too. This track has the most interesting concept on the whole album in my opinion. Basically, Vic gets to have a conversation with both Jesus Christ our lord and savior, as well as Satan, hence the song title.

I only asked Jesus one question
I had to ask him why he created the herbal essence
He said it was made to give you peace and not to be afraid
About the future that's about to lose us and use us today

The way the beat switches up for the conversation with the devil is fucking awesome. It sounds like something Darko the Super would’ve rapped over for The Devil Defeated.

From my understanding Satan once stood on a pulpit
So I asked the devil why he be on bullshit
I said "you need to get high lately"
He said he "got treated bad," I said "you is a crybaby"

The song is dope af. It’s followed by Rehab Resort, Pt. 2, which is another really great one. I love how smooth and jazzy the beat here is, and Vic killed it.

It's been a long time since I penned these verses
It's been a long time since I been in churches
We do business, we go peel off in hearses
"Access granted," then kill y'all on purpose
I take main routes to my enemies' crib
That's if they send they location, then I'm bendin' they ribs
A fuck I could give, back to the basics of the art
Cold ass world, icicles to the heart

The hook is pretty straightforward, but it gets the job done. There are no surprising switch-ups or anything on this track; you pretty much know what the whole track is gonna sound like within the first thirty seconds, but there’s nothing wrong with that since it’s so well done. I think the song is dope. It’s followed by a highlight entitled Drunk at 2:43 PM. This one is fucking crazy. I love how chaotic the beat is; it’s the kind of instrumental that only works with rappers who know how to kill them. Vic Spencer thankfully pulled it off nicely. There’s really nothing accessible about this track. I feel like it will probably annoy a lot of listeners, but I think it’s awesome. The hectic instrumental is just insane. I love the way it kinda gets smoother and funkier after every 8 bars. I liked that line from Vic about how he takes naps like combs. He killed this track.

Gotta get the entire fuck outta here
I can't drink dark, I'll go crazier than I did on this beat
I think my liver outta space, I been drinkin' for weeks
I think I'm seein' things on cloud 9 when Jupiter creaks
I'm rather unique, catch me tweakin'? That's highly unlikely
I beat up the beat, so they call me Ike V

The song is fire. I think it’s dope as hell. It’s followed by yet another highlight called Reciprocate the Love. I love how pretty and flowery the jazzy instrumental sounds. Lyrically, the song is basically about how niggas don’t show love despite it costing nothing to do so. It kinda reminds me of my favorite track from the first album, Friends Is a Dumb Word.

Bein' real with people isn't enough
You gotta go and get blush for them to listen to ya
Sensitive ass rappers not knowin' what happened
It's all about social media tactics, they don't know about bein' classic
I tried to be cool with hella niggas
That shit didn't work out in my favor
But you can also tell I'm not a selfish nigga
Real love is weird to other generations
They make shit about them, maybe they the confrontation
I thought I needed a therapist
Until I realized I could pack up my story
And then sell this shit to those that cherish it

He killed this track. The following song is entitled Norbit’s Revenge, and it’s not quite as good to me, but I do still like it. I really like the melodic, kind of reflective-sounding production. The song is structured the exact same way as most of the others; it’s just one long verse. It’s a good verse, but it doesn’t really stand out much from the others in my opinion. The production is the main aspect of the song that sticks with me. It’s a dope song though. Nothing about it is bad at all. The following track is a major highlight entitled Horns in the Cornfield. August Fanon’s production on this one is fucking amazing to me. It sounds like soldiers preparing for a skirmish in the form of music. It’s like audible war. I think this track has some of the most entertaining lyricism on the project too.

I used to be like "I'm sick of this shit"
Then I realized I'm really sick at this shit
They pissed at the kicks
I tell her I look better than the guy that she with
Standing right there too, he didn't say shit
Ridin' an ostrich to the grocery store
You can't tell me when I'm knowin' what's dope
The growth show in every verse, curse wasn't a gift
Vic left out the buildin' but he wasn't dismissed

I love the way the beat switches up for the final minute of the song too. I don’t really know how to describe it, but it sounds really colorful and shiny. I wouldn’t exactly call it melodic though. It’s really cool how Vic kind of adjusted his delivery to sound more calm and focused too.

Real smooth 'cause I'm old school
Back in the day niggas never followed no rules
They was talkin' shit, so I checked it
I smack rappers with vinyls, and that's for the record

The song was already really good, but this last minute pushed it to the next level for me. I think it’s easily one of the best songs on the album. It’s dope af. Track 10 is called Sneaker Bandit. This one has a really smooth, jazzy, horn-driven instrumental. Vic spends most of the song rhyming about fashion and footwear, which is cool I guess. I think he did it well.

Paid a grip, I'm in the latest drip, you should save your fit
Avirex, all blue leather didn't age a bit
Christian Dior sweats from the 80s, didn't age a bit
SBs from '03, them shits didn't age a bit

It’s not really a standout track to me, but it’s not really a low point either. I think everything is really well done. I fuck with the verse, and the jazzy production is great. The song is dope. The next one is called Psychotic Pandhandlers. This track isn’t really a favorite of mine, but it’s still cool. It has one of the chillest instrumentals on the album. It’s also one of the few tracks on the album with an actual hook, which is cool. I also think the way he was flowing is pretty cool. It reminds me of the way Earl rapped on the second verse of Grief. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about this track makes it feel like an interlude. I think it’s the jazzy production. It sounds like an intermission. The verse is pretty good. Again, it’s not really a highlight for me, but I fuck with the song overall. The following track is a major highlight for me called Victor Wynslow. August Fanon is a fucking beast for this beat, man. This is one of the best beats I’ve heard all year. I love how evil and creepy the piano keys sound. The beat just sounds really chaotic. It sounds like a horror movie. I love the storytelling from Vic on this track too. I don’t wanna spoil what happens by sharing too many of the lyrics, but I really enjoyed hearing about the Big Rob character. Vic’s voice and flow sound great over this beat too. I don’t have any issues with the song at all. It’s only 2 and a half minutes, but the story isn’t too scant or anything. It doesn’t feel incomplete. I think August & Vic killed this shit. The song is dope af. The penultimate song is called Bipolarism. This song has another one of the better beats on the album. I love how dark yet simultaneously melodic it is. It’s awesome. I appreciate how this track has some of the most aggressive lyricism on the album too.

I should no longer share my fuckin' energy
I go back to my old ways, it's feelin' like it's ten of me
I learned work with niggas where they at
I only do that shit because I already know how you act
Niggas actin' like bitches too much with no ethic
If you rap but can't produce no album then I'm skeptic
Niggas love to step on toes
When they consequences follow we just step on they nose

It’s another one of the better songs on the album in my opinion. I love it. I think it’s dope as hell. The closing song is the longest track on the album, and it’s called Greenthumb’s Diary. The jazzy production sounds like something from a TV show to me. The first minute and a half is taken up by a conversation between Vic and this Greenthumb character, who goes on to provide the ad-libs for this track. Aside from that, this track isn’t too different from anything else on the album. I think it’s a good way to close the project. The verse is great, and same goes for the jazzy, laidback production. The song is dope as hell.

This album is dope as hell. I think it’s one of the better projects I’ve heard so far this year. August Fanon’s production here is fantastic, and Vic’s rhymes are on point. I really don’t have any consistent gripes with this project. Most of the songs are structured the same way, but I’d be being disingenuous if I said it really bothered me. I think the best moments come when Vic is rapping with a specific concept or story in mind, like on Hades Was a Hoe. There’s not a single track here that I don’t think is good. I think this is a pretty noticeable jump in quality from the first album, which I already really liked, so I’m looking forward to the third entry in this series, which I’ve seen Vic mention on Twitter. Anyway, give this album a listen and let me know what you think. It’s really great to me.

Favorite Song: Victor Wynslow
Least Favorite Song: The Unforgiven


Grade: A-

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