Vic Mensa recently stopped by Rolling Stone's headquarters for a stirring performance of "We Could Be Free," as part of our Take One series.
Accompanied by a pianist and a guitarist, Mensa taps into the emotion of the tune – which featured samples, beats and an cameo by Ty Dolla $ign on the recorded version off last year's The Autobiography album – for an especially moving rendition. "You fools, saying 'all lives matter,' but it's black lives you refuse include," Mensa raps at one point before singing the chorus, "We could be free, truly/ If we'd only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other."
Previously, Mensa told Rolling Stone about how making The Autobiography had been a soul-baring journey for him. "I'm not one of the people who started rapping because of the music videos and chains and bitches and flashy shit and the pursuit of dollar bills," he said. "That's a lot of people's reality, but for me, I started making this rap music because it was a way for me to analyze this tumultuous world that I grew up in. And for me to cope with things in my own life and pain and struggle."
He also maintained it was his intention to continue making introspective music beyond The Autobiography. "It's definitely not something I'm turning my back on," he said. "Right now I'm really just focused on getting better and approaching my next album with a new set of skills and some new angles. But it's still very personal, very honest. It's just real, you know? That's one thing I can't lose: I can't lose the realness in my music."