At age 35, Vic Spencer finds himself looking at the clock more often these days.

At age 35, Vic Spencer finds himself looking at the clock more often these days.

"The older I get, it's like time is running out," said the Chicago-born rapper, who was scheduled to visit Rumba Café for a concert on Thursday, Sept. 29 (it was announced the entire tour has been postponed as Alive went to press). "As long as I'm on the rap scene, I have a lot to prove because of my age bracket. There are not a lot of older guys doing it, so I have to carry the torch and hold it down."

Not that Spencer makes any effort to obscure his age in his music. Witness "Grown Folks Rappin'," where the MC boasts about setting aside past immaturities - "I sold my pistol before my baby was born / I had multiple thoughts on who I was gonna use it on," he raps - in order to be a better role model to his children. (Spencer has two daughters: a 9-year-old and her younger sister, who turns 2 in November.)

"I think about that old mentality of mine: 'Load up the pistol and let's go. Anybody talking? Let's go,'" Spencer said. "I sold my pistol ... so that mentality wouldn't be around my kids. Seeing my first daughter born reminded me life is precious. And I can do better now."

Growing up on the West and South Sides of Chicago, these kinds of role models were in short supply for Spencer. He became a ward of the state at age 7, and spent a bulk of his adolescent and teenage years getting shuffled between foster and group homes. "I was living in a group home and making music to stay sane," said Spencer, who produced his first tracks at age 17, rapping into a handheld tape recorder while an instrumental played on a nearby boom box.

Spencer traces the permanent chip on his shoulder - he launched his music career with the idea of becoming the "villain of Chicago," patterning his no-holds-barred style after the likes of Sean Price and MF Doom - to his upbringing. Or, more precisely, to the deep desire to improve his station in life that the sometimes-difficult circumstances instilled in him.

"The chip on my shoulder gets bigger every year," he said. "But as long as you got a chip on your shoulder that means you want something different to happen - you want a change - and that's what I'm aiming for."

And so Spencer records voraciously, documenting these continued evolutions in real time. He's already released two albums this year, including Dead., a compilation LP fleshed out with a half-dozen unreleased tracks, and Who the Fuck Is Chris Spencer??, a collaboration with rapper Chris Crack. A third album, St. Gregory, is due in November.

"If this is something you want to do, you need to drop music," Spencer said. "I need to be able to provide for the fam, so I'm always in the cookie jar."