When rapper Vic Mensa unveiled his There’s A Lot Going On surprise EP at the beginning of June this year, he showed himself to be far more vulnerable inside than we envisioned during his days of spitting filthy bars with Kanye West on tracks like “U Mad.”
Even just a few weeks ago, he was one of the very small number of hip-hop artists to publicly react to the horrifying shooting at Orlando’s gay nightclub Pulse.
Then right before the BET Awards last night (June 26), he dropped his single “Free Love” to Soundcloud. The powerful anthem features a number of guests including Lil B, Halsey, Malik Yusef, and Le1f. The song demands that America steps up and better protects its LGBT community.
Le1f, who identifies as queer, and Lil B jump in for guests verses, while spoken word poet Malik Yusef and songstress Halsey lend their silky vocals to the politically-charged song. Modern issues like the rights of civil union couples and North Carolina’s transgender-excluding bathroom bill are addressed, along with society’s move towards genderless clothing and Bill Clinton‘s affair scandal with Monica Lewinsky in the ’90’s.
Vic raps, “North Carolina, go on and raise up / Take your shirt off, wave it at your haters,” dropping a reference to Petey Pablo to show solidary for those affected by the state’s bathroom bill.
The 23-year-old prefaced “Free Love” with an open letter to fans about his motivations and inspirations for the song. “It wasn’t until a member of my own family revealed to me that they identified as queer this year that it really started to sink in with me. It made me uncomfortable at first. And that’s good. We have to be removed from our comfort zone to be able to grow,” he writes.
Read the full letter and listen to Vic Mensa’s “Free Love” down below!