Vic Mensa's trip to Palestine was an eye-opening experience. Last summer, the Chicago rapper visited the region in the Middle East. The voyage was taken with a group of Black artists, scholars and activists organized by Dream Defenders, and some of the footage made it into his "We Could Be Free" video featuring Ty Dolla $ign. The trip was more than video worthy to the Roc Nation MC, who recently penned an essay for Time about what he learned from the trip and the similarities with the Black experience in the States.

"I do not pretend to be familiar with every nuance of the longstanding turmoil that engulfs Israel and Palestine; it is no doubt as aged and tangled as the family trees ripped apart by its brutality," he writes "I can only speak to the experiences I had there, to the humiliating checkpoints where Palestinians were not only stripped of their possessions but of their dignity."

He adds, "Walking the ancient streets of the Old City, I watched a Palestinian boy thrown against the wall and frisked by Israeli soldiers in full military gear, carrying assault rifles with their fingers ever present on the trigger. Our guide tells us he’s likely been accused of throwing stones, a crime punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence of four years in prison. Take a moment to process that. Throwing stones. Punishable by a mandatory minimum sentence."

It is hard for him ignore the resemblance he sees back home. "The parallels between the black American experience and the Palestinian experience are overwhelming," he writes. Check out the entire essay on Time.

Vic has been making it a point to take in other cultures recently. In December, he got lesson on Gqom, an emerging house music-inspired genre in South Africa.

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