10 Times Vic Mensa Proved To Be The Most Woke Rapper


Chicago-born Vic Mensa has proven time and time again to be just like his mentor Kanye West by fearlessly speaking his mind. Throughout his short career, Mensa has made waves with his political views, fashion statements and anti-police imagery in his music videos.

At a time when pop culture is severely lacking in woke-ness, Mensa comes along to bring social issues to the top of your mind. After rappers like A$AP Rocky dispel the idea of creating socially aware music, outspoken Mensa proves this is exactly what we need right now.

During his Brooklyn stop for his Back With a Vengeance tour, the rapper performed “16 Shots,” inspired by the shooting of Chicago teen, Laquan McDonald, among cutout figures of cops with skull faces and flashing red and blue lights.

He performed a similar set at Wireless Festival just a few weeks prior.

Appreciating his mixture of music and politics, we can’t help but highlight the other instances where Mensa proved that a woke rapper is what the industry needs.

Wearing A “Free Assata” Shirt

At last year’s VMAs, Mensa made a statement in an outfit with the words “Free Assata” on it. Wearing art director/designer Franc Fernandez, he donned a shirt with former Black Panther Assata Shakur’s face on the front that read,  “KKKOPS ARE THE BIGGEST GANG” on the back. Shakur is known for being the FBI’s Most Wanted Woman in 2014 after being locked up as a political prisoner in the ’70s. “That’s ridiculous to me,” Mensa told MTV News.


Wearing A “Kill The Poor” Flightsuit

Mensa’s Pitchfork Music Festival ensemble last year gave a nod to hardcore punk band Dead Kennedys with his “Kill The Poor” flightsuit. The song discusses how the upper class views the lower class as blemishes on society with lyrics like, “Unsightly slums gone up in flashing light / Jobless millions whisked away / At last we have more room to play.”


A photo posted by FRANC FERNANDEZ (@francfernandez) on

Wearing “Burn The Trump” Pants

For an interview with PAPER magazine, Mensa wore custom Franc Fernandez “Burn The Trump” pants. Mensa has expressed his dislike for Trump on Twitter recently after calling the politician “repulsive” and “disgusting” for his reaction to the Orlando shooting.


Reaction To Baltimore Riots

After the funeral for 25-year-old Freddie Gray, violent riots broke out in Baltimore after a series of protests throughout the U.S. Never one to back down from a controversial topic, Mensa took to Twitter to express his solidarity with the Baltimore community.

Protesting Against Chicago Police

A man of his word, Mensa joined a protest in Chicago over McDonald’s murder by police.  Graphic footage from the incident was released online which sparked protests all throughout the city. Fans protesting captured footage of Mensa speaking out his purpose for participating saying, “We want justice for Laquan and we want justice for our people.”

Calling Out Justin Timberlake On National Television

After Justin Timberlake reacted to Jesse Williams’ BET Awards speech on racism, many people were angry with the singer for his inappropriate words and accused him of cultural appropriation. While participating in a round table discussion on The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore, Mensa explained why he thought Timberlake’s comments were problematic. 

Cancelling His Detroit Performance After An Insensitive Tweet

Hacked or not, Mensa doesn’t stand for racist tweets. The rapper cancelled his appearance in Detroit after the venue made a racist and insensitive tweet about the Dallas police shooting, blaming “libtards” as the cause of the incident.

The venue claimed to have been hacked, but Mensa wasn’t having any of it. On top of cancelling his performance, he went on a Twitter rant about the Dallas shooting and called for a stop to “senseless violence.”



Response to Alton Sterling Shooting

In an Instagram post, Mensa urged his followers to think about our culture’s anti-blackness and how society needs to reprogram its view. After Alton Sterling was shot for selling DVDs, Mensa began the post with the questions: “Does this face scare you? Would you cross the street if he asked if you wanted to buy a DVD? Would you even answer the question?”

Does this face scare you? Would you cross the street if he asked if you wanted to buy a DVD? Would you even answer the question? We need to reprogram. Our nations past bleeds into our present by raising us to think black is something to fear. The police officer that killed him was so scared of the idea of a black man with a gun that it didn’t matter if he was reaching for it or threatening at all. That fear took a father, a son, and a brother off of the earth all at the same time. If you’re reading this and wondering if he deserved to die I want you to look yourself in the eye. Tell yourself that he was a human being with a family. A family that will never be the same. Tell yourself that you don’t need to fear a man just because of the color of his skin. Tell yourself that his blood bleeds red just like yours. Tell yourself he feels fear just like you do. Tell yourself that he feels love just like you do. Tell yourself that you love him. Then go and tell your friends the same. We have to REPROGRAM. “Once you change your philosophy, you change your thought pattern. Once you change your thought pattern, you change your attitude. Once you change your attitude, it changes your behavior pattern and then you go on into some action.” – MALCOLM X We have to change. And it starts with each of us.

A photo posted by Vic Mensa (@vicmensa) on

Released “Free Love” In Response to Orlando Shooting

During Chicago’s Pride weekend, Mensa premiered the LGBT-inclusive track, “Free Love,” in response to the Orlando shooting. In a personal note written along with the track, Mensa admits that he didn’t know any LGBT people growing up and felt like it wasn’t his battle to fight until a family member came out as queer. He aimed to show support for the community and urged his followers to do the same.

“Free Love” features Malik Yusef, Lil B and queer artists Halsey and Le1f.