Vic Mensa unleashed a striking performance of “We Could Be Free” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert Monday. The track appears on Mensa’s new album, The Autobiography.
The rapper appeared with a string quartet and a small choir, all of whom wore black outfits emblazoned with societal ills from poverty and mental illness to police brutality and sexual violence.
Mensa jumped expertly between spitting his intricate, politically charged bars and singing in a surprisingly delicate and soulful croon. After an especially potent torrent – “Blocked from the polls, locked in the hood/ Trying to stop you from voting and stop you from growing” – he eased into the chorus before belting one final hope-filled hook.
Mensa released The Autobiography in July. The album marked his long awaited debut, following a pair of EPs, There’s Alot Going On and The Manuscript, and his 2013 breakout mixtape, Innanetape.
Mensa has been on the road throughout the fall, playing a few solo shows, but primarily opening for Jay-Z on the rapper’s 4:44 tour. That trek wraps December 21st at the Forum in Los Angeles.