Chicago rapper and activist VIC MENSA has tapped music heavyweights Chance The Rapper and Wyclef Jean for “Shelter,” a powerful single that challenges the American system responsible for a history of overcriminalization, racial injustice, and issues that affect the lives of people in underserved communities. “Shelter is a spiritual note, a healing frequency…” states Mensa. “It was inspired not by Hollywood or Paris, but by what’s going on the ground – in the real world, with the real people.” Adds Wyclef, “The journey of this song was so important. It’s very crucial we, as musicians, use our voice to represent those who are not so easily able to be heard.”
The song’s incisive verses are inspired by injustices close to Vic’s heart, including the incarceration of Julius Jones, whois on death row despite compelling evidence to back his innocence, as well as the wrongful deaths at the hands of police of Breonna Taylor, Philando Castille, and Elijah McClain, among many others. “Shelter” arrives paired with an artful and melancholic music video by director
Andre Muir, a staggering visual metaphor for the perilous impact that Covid-19 has had on the Black community. The “Shelter” video made its broadcast premiere on MTV Live, MTVU, BET Soul, and BET Jams.
“Shelter” acts as a preview of Vic’s impending new project I TAPE, a formal follow up to last summer’s acclaimed V TAPE, which showcased profound levels of consciousness and self-reflection as he
made his long awaited return to the rap spotlight. V TAPE was roundly praised as a new high point for the MC, including accolades from Pitchfork, The Fader,Complex, The Source, Consequence of Sound, and more. The release arrived in the midst of a busy year for Mensa, including a virtual performance atLollapalooza, a Chicago Peace Walk that he led alongside G Herbo, a ‘Sleep Out Chicago’ event he staged to raise money for the city’s homeless youth, and spearheading several other initiatives through his nonprofit organization SAVEMONEYSAVELIFE.
Vic will expound further on the theme of healing in a virtual discussion with OkayPlayer’s Rachel Hislop as part of the site’s PASSAGE: THE PRACTICE OF HEALING live-streamed conversation series.
RSVP now to attend the event this week, Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 7pm EST/Wednesday, Feb 10 at 2am SAST.