Chicago’s Vic Mensa is the latest rapper to call for cultural change towards the treatment of the LGBT community with an emotional and politically-charged new single Free Love.
Released as part of LGBT Pride Month, which included a series of pride parades in both London and New York over the weekend, the song features several other LGBT activists from the music industry, including Halsey, Lil B, Malik Yusef and openly gay rapper Le1f.
Mensa took to Twitter ahead of its release to explain in great detail why he wanted to write on the issue. Referencing the tragic hate crimes that still have Orlando and the wider LGBT community heartbroken, he recalls how “I didn’t know any gay people growing up (that I know of), and I just felt I should stand for things I know.” Mensa continued, “It wasn’t until a member of my own family… identified as queer this year that it really started to sink in with me… We have to be removed from our comfort zone in order to grow.” You can read the post in its entirety below:
— still alive (@VicMensa) June 26, 2016
He has channelled that love and defiance into Free Love, opening with a tender acoustic guitar riff before dropping into a driving beat that over which Mensa croons “Whatever happened to free love?” and drops the hugely evocative hook “You can fuck who you want to fuck, you can love who you want to love”, cementing his stance. As the song continues, the production shifts multiple times to suit the particular style of each collaborating artist as they lend their voices to the song, Halsey in particular shining with her razor sharp verse.
Despite the number of contributors the song never feels like there are too many cooks in the kitchen, Mensa making sure things stay simple from start to finish while giving each artist their own opportunity to stand out on the track. Listen for yourself:
It’s refreshing to hear such an honest dialogue coming from the hip-hop and wider music community here. It comes after Mensa noted in an interview last month that “I wouldn’t consider myself a political person or political artist. I’m more so just for reality.” He and his collaborators have certainly addressed a number of realities on Free Love and will no doubt stir the minds and hearts of more than a few listeners with their latest effort here.