Vic Mensa Announces New Project with Stirring ‘Late Show’ Performance

The Chicago rapper and activist brings his latest single to The Late Show with a gripping performance.

Vic Mensa brought some needed attention to the broken carceral system last night on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

The Chicago rapper and activist joined forces with Wyclef Jean and longtime collaborator, Peter CottonTale, to bring his new single “SHELTER” to the stage. Filmed by Andre Muir (the director behind the video treatment for “SHELTER,”) the performance centers on the themes from his freshly-announced I TAPE project, ruminating on the failures of the justice system, the disproportionate rate of COVID-19-related death in communities of color, and the nation’s long-running epidemic of houselessness.

The performance caps with the premiere of a booming new song from the project, titled “FR33DOM,” which was brought in by a recitation of a poem written by Julius Jones, a black man who was wrongly convicted of murder in Oklahoma when he was just 19-years-old. Jones is currently on death row despite a robust effort to clear his name and have his case retried. For more information on Jones’ case and what you can do to help, watch The Last Defensea two-part documentary executive produced by Viola Davis.

Mensa’s new project, I TAPE, is slated to land on March 26th with appearances from Chance The Rapper, Smoko Ono, Just Blaze, and more. The rapper is also leading a number of social justice initiatives, including his own SAVEMONEYSAVELIFE non-profit.

Watch Vic Mensa perform “SHELTER” and “FR33DOM” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert below. Hold tight for I TAPE to arrive on March 26th.


Zo is a staff writer at Okayplayer where he covers music.

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