UPDATE: Vic Mensa’s cypher performance dissing late rapper XXXTentacion aired during the 2018 BET Hip-Hop Awards Tuesday. Mensa’s freestyle pointedly referenced the allegations of domestic abuse that had been leveled at the late rapper: “Only time you bear arms is in a wife beater, loser/ Your favorite rapper’s a domestic abuser.” Moments later, Mensa added, “I don’t respect [edited] posthumously, homicide ain’t new to me/ Catch up with Akademiks at your eulogy.” The cypher also featured Taylor Bennett, G Herbo and Nick Grant.
Here's the Vic Mensa XXXTentacion Diss. BET decided to bleep it out so no one would get upset but it wasn't bleeped out when X's mom and family was in attendance during the filming of the awards pic.twitter.com/gNwuNkSNz1
— B The Biz (@BrodyTheBiz) October 17, 2018
Vic Mensa addressed the growing controversy surrounding deceased rapper XXXTentacion and Mensa’s BET Hip-Hop Awards cypher performance, which airs on October 16th. On Sunday, DJ Scheme, a producer who worked with XXXTentacion, accused the Chicago rapper of stating “Your favorite rapper is an abuser” and mentioning XXXTentacion during his freestyle. Last year, Miami New Times described Scheme as the “DJ Clue to Miami’s up-and-coming Jay-Zs,” for his work with XXXTentacion, Wifisfuneral, Ski Mask the Slump God and the larger South Florida area rap scene.
On Instagram, Vic stood by his condemnation of alleged abusers in hip-hop. “Recently, I did a freestyle for the BET Award cypher addressing and condemning rappers who unabashedly abuse women and those who stand up for them and even call them legends,” Mensa said. “I stand behind those statements.”
Before his death in June, XXXTentacion was charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness-tampering for an alleged incident with his then-girlfriend. Despite the serious claims, the Florida rapper was awarded Best New Hip-Hop Artist at the BET Hip-Hop Awards, according to those in attendance. Vic apologized to XXXTentacion’s mother, Cleopatra Bernard, who was at the award show and explained his cypher was recorded before the taping.
“It was prerecorded weeks ago and I had no idea a grieving mother would be in the audience to honor her lost son. I never intended to disrespect her and offer my deepest condolences for her loss at the hands of gun violence,” he continued. “However, I vehemently reject the trend in hip-hop of championing abusers and I will not hold my tongue about it. I don’t give a fuck about getting attention. I care about bringing awareness and holding people accountable for their actions.”
“Protect women,” Mensa added in the caption for his video. “Domestic and sexual abuse are not excusable because you have talent or you are troubled.”
In July, Mensa wrote an op-ed for Rolling Stone detailing how gun violence has impacted his personal life and calling for a ban on AR-15s.
“Gun culture in America is a plague, but the virus is too ingrained to be wiped out completely – it’s past time that we address the symptoms,” he wrote. “The carnage in black communities won’t be solved by gun control; that will take infrastructure, money and government support to bridge the gaps that have forgotten those communities. Mass shootings, on the other hand, are a different phenomenon, one that can be affected by having some common sense and the courage to challenge the billionaires profiting from our sorrow.”