Vic Mensa has been at the center of some controversy lately. In his BET Hip Hop Awards cypher, which taped last week and aired last night, Vic Mensa called out supporters of XXXTentacion, the late rapper who was accused of horrific domestic violence while he was alive, and other abusers in the hip-hop community. “Only time you bear arms is in a wife beater, loser/ Your favorite rapper’s a domestic abuser,” he rapped. Although he reportedly mentioned XXXTentacion by name, the cypher ended up airing with certain lines censored.
Mensa himself has spoken and rapped about choking his girlfriend during a physical confrontation after a party. “She came out the room swingin’, hit me in the jaw/ I was really tryna fend her off/ But I ended up in the closet with my hands around her neck,” he rapped on the title track from his 2016 EP There’s Alot Going On. “I was tripping, dawg/ Too proud to apologize or empathize, I blamed it all on her/ Saying that she hit me first, even though she was the one hurt.”
After facing some criticism from XXXTentacion’s supporters, Mensa offered condolences to the late rapper’s mother, saying he didn’t realize she would be in the audience for the cypher, but doubled down on his comments. “Domestic and sexual abuse are not excusable because you have talent or you are troubled,” he said on Instagram. “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.”
Today, Mensa has shared a new song called “Empathy,” clarifying on Twitter that it is “in response to all the controversy.” “They say you shouldn’t cast stones from a glass home/ The whole world wanna see me fall but I stand strong/ I said what’s right but they don’t hear me cause my past wrongs/ I got so down on my luck I made it a damn song/ Reflected that on the women I’ve loved and left/ Got a call from my ex, she forgive but she can’t forget,” he raps. And later: “And everybody heard the song/ I fucked up, admit that I fucked up/ But I ain’t do that though, so I wanna judge but I sound like an asshole.” Listen below.