It’s been a tumultuous week for Vic Mensa. The Chicago rapper faced criticism following a performance during the BET Hip-Hop Awards in which he denounced domestic abusers, with a line that many assumed was aimed at the late Florida rapper XXXTentacion. “Only time you bear arms is in a wife-beater, loser/Your favorite rapper’s a domestic abuser,” he rapped, before following with the line “I don’t respect [censored] posthumously.” While it’s unclear what he said in the line that BET censored, many have guessed that it identified XXX by name.
No one corrected the domestic abuse claim. Before his death earlier this year, XXXTentacion had a well-documented court history involving charges of aggravated battery. However, XXX fans sprang into action to criticize the timing and venue of the diss; XXX was murdered in June, and his mother was in attendance at the awards show.
While the “freestyle” was pre-recorded, it only made its way online this week, setting off an immediate firestorm. In response, Mensa took to Instagram, saying that he “stands behind the statements” condemning those who abuse women. “I was not aware his mother would be in attendance & I offer her my deepest condolences,” he wrote in the post’s caption.
On Wednesday, Mensa addressed the controversy again in a new song, “Empathy,” which he produced with Johan and Stefan Ponce. “They say you shouldn’t cast stones from a glass home/The whole world want to see me fall but I stand strong,” he raps at its outset. The song also acknowledges Mensa’s own checkered history with violence against women. (In 2016, he rapped about assaulting an ex-girlfriend.) “Got a call from my ex,” he says on the new song. “She forgive but she can’t forget.”
In response to all the controversy… 🎵 Empathy pic.twitter.com/V76BVAiYYQ
— vino valentino (@VicMensa) October 17, 2018