Image via @vicmensa

Vic Mensa first performed “16 Shots” (a song dedicated to Chicago 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times and killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014) back in February at a benefit for Flint, Michigan. Now that he’s nearing the release of his next album There’s A Lot Going On, Mensa has shared an official version of the track as our first taste of the project.

“I was inspired to make this song by my time down on the ground floor when we were revolting against that shit,” he told Ebro Darden on Beats 1 Radio this afternoon before premiering the song. “This record is like self-defense. To me, Laquan McDonald represents Emmett Till which represents every name down the line. Since then a lot of things have changed, but one thing hasn’t changed: our lives are not respected.”

A noticeable departure from his recent dance-friendly music, “16 Shots” harnesses the energy of someone fully invested in the words coming out of their mouth. It’s an energy that can’t be manufactured and one that we hope will have its fingerprints all over There’s A Lot Going On. Listen below.