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Watch Rapper Vic Mensa Perform '16 Shots' At Black Lives Matter Art Exhibit

By Joe Ward | April 27, 2016 9:51pm
 Chicago rapper Vic Mensa performs his new song
Chicago rapper Vic Mensa performs his new song "16 Shots" at an art exhibit honoring black activists Wednesday night.
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DNAinfo/Joe Ward

WEST LOOP — The opening night of an art exhibit honoring Black Lives Matter activists Wednesday received some local star power when rapper Vic Mensa performed a song honoring Laquan McDonald.

Mensa, a rising South Side rapper who has played at the Pitchfork Music Festival, collaborated with Kanye West and will play Lollapalooza this year, was an unbilled performer at the opening night of "Our Duty To Fight," an exhibit at the University of Illinois-Chicago's Gallery 400.

He performed his new song "16 Shots," a reference to the number of times Laquan was shot by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

The song references not only Van Dyke (and the police union posting his bail money) but also the fight for a trauma center at the University of Chicago and the "Black Friday" protests that blanketed Michigan Avenue the day after Thanksgiving.

"On the South Side where there's no trauma centers but the most trauma," Mensa raps on the track. "100 deep on State Street, where the troops at?"

To end the song, Mensa laid on the floor while a news personality described the footage of Van Dyke shooting Laquan.

Mensa was very visible in the protests that erupted after the release of the footage showing Laquan's killing.

The rapper was at the Black Friday protests with a camera crew and also was at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse fighting for the release of Malcolm London, an artist and activist who was arrested the first night of protests. 

Mensa didn't debut his charged-up, political song at the art gallery opening. He first performed the song at a rally in Flint, Mich. Watch the full song from that performance below.

The Black Lives Matter exhibit will run until June 11 at Gallery 400, 400 S. Peoria St.

Watch Mensa perform the full song [EXPLICIT]:

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