In between dates on his “4:44 Tour” run with JAY-Z, Vic Mensa stopped by “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” for a special performance of “We Could Be Free.”
Backed a live band, choir, and stirring string section, a regal jacket wearing Mensa delivered the emotional and rousing standout from his debut album, The Autobiography.
The performance, like the song, exemplified various issues surrounding freedom. Musicians and choir wore clothing emblazoned with important causes including mental illness, addiction, hunger, climate disruption, sexual abuse, police brutality, domestic violence, and mass incarceration.
Mensa brought his message home with background screens as well. They read the names of various places that have suffered in recent times, including Las Vegas, Standing Rock, Venezuela, Baton Rouge, and Aleppo.
The performance was met with a standing ovation from the Ed Sullivan Theater audience. According to his manager Scooter Braun, Mensa was only the second musical guest to receive a standing ovation on “The Late Show” in two decades.
“We Could Be Free” is a single off The Autobiography, which also features “Rollin’ Like a Stoner,” “Rage,” and “Wings.” Mensa has said that he might follow this album up with a DJ Drama-hosted mixtape.
Vic is currently on JAY’s “4:44 Tour,” which is crisscrossing the country now. The jaunt is set to continue through Dec. 21 at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.