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Bigger Fish Vince Staples

Interview

He has worked with Kendrick Lamar, Gorillaz, Ty Dolla $ign, A$AP Rocky, Juicy J, Mac Miller, Andre 3000 and Future. Still, you may not know Vince Staples. He’s done the late-night circuit, performed for sellout crowds worldwide, and caught the attention and praise of industry notables—it’s about time you know him. “I’m regular,” Staples says, dressed in a black tee, jeans and Chucks. “I put both shoes on when I leave the house. I wear leather belts—design[er]- free leather belts.” But he is far from average.

 

Growing up in and around the Southern California communities of Artesia, Bell ower, Cerritos, and North and East Long Beach, with extracurricular hobbies that could have cost him his life, Vince decided to take rap seriously at the age of 17. His seriousness and drive have afforded him luxuries most take for granted. “Knowing exactly what I’m gonna do tomorrow, that’s my favorite part about this, having a set schedule. I think we have a lot of focus on extravagance and we should focus more on stability.” He’s found that stability in music, a fact that has changed his trajectory forever, and his relief is apparent. Vince is able to take the uncertainty of his childhood and recycle it into his music—a composer’s compost of sorts, using shit to harvest fruit-bearing trees.

 

But another striking aspect of Staples’ persona is an uncanny, truthful, sarcastic sense of humor that delivers its punchlines through a tunnel of abstraction. It’s refreshing, and when combined with his skill as a rap artist, attracts his audience on a personal level. “I got the voice now. It’s a talent. Once I get my voice to Kanye’s voice and my handshake and smile to Drake’s, I’ll make some real money. That’s what it’s about. You gotta make people feel like they’re a part of it.”

 

Maybe that’s why his fan base is growing at such a rapid rate. Vince shares his fears, desires, obstacles, losses and triumphs in such a way that welcomes people into his world. He elevates the hood, and brings celebrities down to earth. With love letters, righteousness, political commentary and knowledge of self thrown against gritty electric dance beats, stunning aquatic imagery, and organic features, Big Fish Theory reassures listeners that the new direction his sound has taken is one that makes sense, and, more importantly, one that works.

 

 

With increasingly more accolades under his belt, Staples is reaching a level of success that affords him a certain degree of comfort and satisfaction. “Yeah, it’s easy. Ya just gotta do shows. If it stays here forever, I’ll be alright. But it won’t stay here forever. It might go down. Might go up. That’s how life works.” In the meantime, he’s not resting on his laurels. “I always have ideas. It’s a matter of picking one—what you want to do, and where you want to go next. A lot of it is convincing yourself that it’s worth the time and that it’s worth the effort. That it’s worth the sacri ces. I am kind of at a point now where I don’t care if it’s worth it or not, cause what’s the worst that could happen if somebody doesn’t like your music?”

 

Vince dismisses his detractors the same way LeBron might de ect judgments from a self-proclaimed basketball critic. “Who the fuck are you? Who do you think you are? Just say you don’t like something and keep it moving. Everybody wants to be heard. I have no idea why I would be worried about something that has nothing to do with me. Why would I be mad or hate someone I don’t know? It’s like, you can’t tell J.R. Smith about his jumper.”

 

Wise beyond his years, openly sober, modest almost to a fault, witty, wildly talented, innately ghetto, and charming in every way—this man deserves his own show. When asked how long he sees himself rapping, he replies wryly. “Until I get a better job.”

 

Say the name aloud: Vince. Staples. Now you know.

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