RAPstation Exclusive Interview: Vince Staples

Long Beach native Vince Staples is currently having the ride of his life. The 23-year-old Def Jam Recordings artist has embraced his reputation as a “regular” rapper and never relied on flashy cars, glitz or glam to woo his fans. He spits nothing but solid, real life raps. After collaborating with members of Odd Future and working with Mac Miller on his Stolen Youth mixtape, he dropped his debut EP Hell Can Waitin 2014. It was his 2015 debut album, Summertime ’06, however, that really put the young spitter on the map. With tracks like “Norf Norf” and “Surf” (both produced by notable beatsmith Clams Casino), the 20-track project showcased his penchant for simple, bass heavy beats, a sound that carried over to 2016’s Prima Donna EP. Featuring seven new cuts, it found him working with producers like No I.D., DJ Dahi, James Blake, and John Hill. 


As Staples continues making his way across the United States while delivering his signature brand of Hip Hop, he had a few brief moments during a tour stop in New Orleans to chop it up about Cajun culture, Denver trying to kill him, his opinion on journalists and giving the people what they want. 



RAPstation: Where are you? 


Vince Staples: We’re in New Orleans on like a baseball field, I think. Well, it’s not a baseball field someone just told me, but it’s cool I guess. 


Have you gone to any of those weird voodoo shops with the shrunken alligator heads yet? 


We haven’t gone to a voodoo shop yet, but it’s funny you say that because last night I was trying to get everybody to go to the forest to do some voodoo, but nobody wanted to go. 


I would have gone in a second [laughs]. Have you ever heard of rougarous? 


I don’t know what a rougarou is, but it sounds expensive and deadly. 


No, it’s actually super scary [laughs]. I think they’re spirits or something that live in the bayous and haunt people. 


So they’re bayous spirits that haunt people? That sounds exciting. 

You might have encountered some had you gone out last night, so you missed out there. What do you think about the above ground graves? 

I’m not from this place—you’re letting me know a lot of things. Tell me about these above ground graves. 


I think the graves are above ground basically because of flooding. In the past, water would sweep away the dead bodies. 

This is my question— if they’re above ground, if the water breaks the graves, there’s just dead people floating around? 


I think so, yeah [laughs]. It’s so weird. I have only been once and it was the most fascinating place.


Sounds like a good ol’ time. I haven’t been able to explore. Last time it was raining and before that we were in and out for shows, so I never got to explore it, but hopefully we get to see some over water graves and some bayou spirits. 


Yeah and some rougarous. Ask any locals, they know, they’ll tell you. 


That’s kind of fucking crazy. 


What is your honest opinion on journalists? Are you sick of doing interviews and being asked the same questions? 


I honestly don’t think you’ve asked me a question yet that I’ve been asked before. I definitely never had anyone speak to me about overground graves. I can’t put that on you at all. 


I was nervous a little before the call because I was told not to ask you certain questions, but I want you to know that all journalists aren’t after click-bait stories. 


I really appreciate it. 


Are you familiar with Jurassic 5? 


I know one of their sons. One of their sons made one of my first beats. 


Oh wow, which one? 


I have no idea who his dad is, but his son is Snubnose Frank, but his dad is in Jurassic 5. 


When I heard “Norf Norf,” I played it for Cut Chemist.


I appreciate it when OGs come into my little bubble. 


Music can really transcend age.

Yeah. We have kids that are 12 going to the shows with their moms. 


When is your birthday? 


July 2. 


You’ll be 24. You’re so young. That’s how old Biggie was when he died. I heard you got your driver’s license in 2014. Is that true? 


Yeah, I never drove before that. My mom used to work for Toyota, Honda and all that. I’ve always been around cars and she took me to car shows and all that, but cars are expensive, so I never drove one. 


Do you have one now?


I have one now, but I couldn’t afford one for a really long time. 


What do you have now? 


I have a Mercedes-Benz. 


Oooh nice. 


It was cheap. I got a deal. Someone’s dad hooked it up. 


I had an ’86 BMW once. 


That was a good year. 


That was the year I gravitated towards Hip Hop. That Beastie Boys record came out. I guess that’s why I gravitate to songs like “Norf Norf” because I like the simplicity of a bass heavy beat, and I think you illustrate that in that song. 


Definitely. Thank you. That’s a big compliment. 


What are you working on now? 

Right now, I’m just touring. I’m trying to put a lot of time, effort and money into this tour to give people a better experience. Just seeing how Kanye west and Jay Z do their tours — they put so much thought and production into it. It made me question what I was giving these people for their money. I just tried to research what it would take to give people a good experience like that at my shows. Like let’s say you’re at a movie and watching the movie, and you know nothing about it, you still have to sit for 90 minutes to watch it. But with a concert, people are waiting for one song and as soon as they hear it, they leave. I see that at every arena. I wanted to do it so it would keep anyone entertained. You wouldn’t have had to hear any of my songs to enjoy it. That’s what I wanted to try to do with this tour. 


Do you think you accomplished that? 

For the most part, I think we’re doing a good job with it. I’m just going to keep pushing forward. 


Will you play Denver again?


We did two days in Denver. There’s a lot of weed in Denver I feel like Denver does their best to try to kill me [writer’s note: he has asthma].


Everyone thought I moved here because weed was legal. 


That’s a lot of commitment to the marijuana [laughs]. ‘Let’s pack up and leave!’ 

Those days are over. 


As long as you know you’re living a healthy life and they’re not trying to murder you then everything will be fine.