It’s a fundamental narrative in hip hop, but rappers have always found a new way to breathe life into it. Staples brings forth a vision that’s brutal, elegant, playful, and despondent in one breath.
vince staples show episode 1 – Vince Staples
If you had to describe Vince Staples in one word, it would be disarming.” The 21-year-old rapper is from Long Beach—he’ll never let you forget that—and has been witness to and participant in some grisly things. Vince Staples isn’t disturbed by dissonance: The California rapper’s music—stark, biting, and oblique—revels in knotted tensions that defy easy resolution. His world is one of white fans dancing to black death, of relationships crumbling into oblivion, of shoot-outs killing both enemies and friends—and it all feels natural. Staples’s ability to evoke these contrasts and then slash through them is unmatched, in rap and beyond. He’s a master at drawing listeners close, only to explode that proximity. FM!, his latest album, extends that tradition, using a radio station to amplify the signal. The record features some of his most accessible songs to date, and in typical Vince Staples fashion, stings as much as it slaps.
Yeah! We were on that! We had a thing called Encarta encyclopedia, and it had this thing where you could go to a map and bring any part of the world up, and you could go back through different time periods. I used to do that all day. I did that, because I really couldn’t go past my gate. My aunt lived on Oak Street in Compton, down the street from Oak Park. And the majority of my family is from that area. That’s where they do their—whatever you want to call it. I don’t like to talk about shit like that. That shit is deep rooted in my family, since the beginning.
Next month brings the release of Queen & Slim , the new film from Emmy-winning producer Lena Waithe and the Grammy-winning music video director Melina Matsoukas Described as protest art” that confronts racism, the thriller follows a black couple evading authorities, Bonnie and Clyde style, after they kill a police officer in self-defense.
Releasing his critically acclaimed debut Summertime ’06 album in 2015, the then twenty-year-old saw his life turned right side up, going from being nearly trapped to having what appeared to be complete freedom.
Vince Staples is 5ft 8in tall and he’s of African-American ancestry. His net worth is around $4 million. Most of his earnings derive from music sale and concerts. He also sells online merchandise ranging from tees to autographed disc vinyl. Staples can add philanthropist to his resume. He’s contributed an undisclosed amount to the Long Beach YMCA program ‘The Youth Institute’. The program teaches young kids the skills required to succeed in the entertainment industry.
Such is the nature of his music, as self and socially aware as it is comical. With Prima Donna and Summertime ’06 behind him, Staples has set the tone for what’s yet to come. A standout rapper in today’s hip hop world, he keeps his sound deeply tied to his west coast roots and his message one that knows no boundaries.
But more than entertainment—as was the case in Señorita”—there is something far more sinister about the way FUN!” plays out via Google Maps, a comment on technology-as-surveillance in the modern age. Where the family in Señorita” presumably traveled to see Poppy Street in some exhibit, the viewer in FUN!” is able to take it all in from the comfort of their computer. With no one able to see him, no one can force him to consider the weight of his actions. Instead, he has free reign to live vicariously, to surveil Ramona Park without its consent.
Well, on the promised day the rapper dropped the first official entry of The Vince Staples Show, titled So What?” deeming it Episode 1. This time, music is present to accompany his visual. The short video opens up with Vince Staples lying in bed when he gets a call from his manager who tells him that Malia Obama wants him to perform at her 21st birthday celebration. Is that the white one or the Black one?” Vince replies, before agreeing to do it for some of that Netflix money” the Obamas currently have. Before he rolls up to the function, he heads to Pasadena for a haircut and walks into a barbershop named Katching All Fades. He then sits and waits for the barber to work his magic as two suspicious-looking men eyeball the rapper. What happens next is Atlanta level of both awkward and outrageous.
Announcing his recent record deal with Motown earlier this month, Vince Staples said he’d have new music coming out in a week, two weeks.” Now, Vince has released a trailer for something called The Vince Staples Show, which may or may not involve that new music.
As far as people getting killed by the cops? It happens all the time. I’m happy a lot of people are kind of in uproars about it, though. Because we need to value everyone’s life equally, and there’s a lot of people who don’t see it that way.
I stopped caring about life when I was 15 years old and my homie got killed by a grown man. And his dad still calls to check on me, to tell me he’s proud of me. He says he cries sometimes when he hears my songs. That’s what means something to me.
I ain’t never had a khaki suit on in my fucking life. I’ve never crip-walked before—that’s corny. I’ve never been stupid. I never felt like I had to do nothing. My name is Vince where I come from. I got a name, but I don’t tell people that. They know I live over there, but that ain’t where I’m from over there. And they know what I’ma do and what I have done, but what does that mean at the end of the day? What does that really mean? I have homies with Yankee tattoos on their face. What would that mean if they left Long Beach? In my music, I can’t pretend it means something to you, but I can tell you what I learned from it.
Vince addressing this something that exists above us” in both his interviews, coupled with his creative output, suggests that he is not entirely cynical as to the possibility of change since to return to the issue over and over without hope would only drive him mad. In this way, his new video for FM! single FUN!” finds him posing the same question asked in Señorita,” but with even more precision.
The video opens by zooming in on our Google Earth-sized planet, and it plops us — with Google Maps’ little yellow man — onto a nondescript street in Norfy, California.” There, we see Staples pose in front of groups of kids dancing, clean his sneakers with a toothbrush and bleach, stumble across a robbery in progress, walk by a scene of police brutality, and, finally, dance with his crew at the entrance to Ramona Park.
The Long Beach-based rapper has been delivering a pile of projects over the course of the year and has been establishing himself as one of the more prominent rappers in the game. While Staples’ 2017′ album Big Fish Theory was widely acclaimed, his latest album FM! , released in 2018, was even more fun. The original song that will accompany each episode of the new mini-series will be released as a stand-alone single. Based on that, it’s interesting to listen to Staples’ next project come together slowly.
Vince Staples has shared a trailer for a mysterious new project titled The Vince Staples Show. Lauryn Hill , Vince Staples and Megan Thee Stallion will contribute new songs to the soundtrack of Queen & Slim, a new movie about a black Bonnie & Clyde”.
As Variety reported yesterday (October 11), other artists with new material on the 17-song soundtrack include Lil Baby, Tiana Major9 and EarthGang, as well as Coast Contra with BJ the Chicago Kid and Syd. 6lack and Mereba will appear alongside Vince Staples on his song.
The hilarious three-minute episode begins with Vince Staples getting a phone call from his booking agent with an offer to perform at Malia Obama’s birthday. When tasked with the need for a last-minute haircut on a Monday – a barbershop’s traditional day of rest – his homie suggests a barbershop in Pasadena. “They always open,” he said. While Vince is sitting in the barber’s chair, a child snatches out Vince’s earbuds. When three Bloods hear Vince’s lyrical references to Crips, an all-out brawl ensues in the shop as “So What?” – a bouncy, hater-dismissing record – plays as the soundtrack. The Vince Staples Show may be the start to one of the more creative campaigns in recent rap memory, and this is a great start to the series.
As the title suggests, FM! uses terrestrial radio — and longtime L.A. radio staple Big Boy’s morning show — as a foil to offer subversive commentary on the ways and means black music is marketed for mass consumption. Even the features — Cali artists including Kamaiyah, E-40, Buddy, Kehlani and two diametrically opposed interludes from Earl Sweatshirt and Tyga — present a range of extremes that deconstruct the static separating radio and Internet, alternative and pop.
The neighborhood where Staples was raised, Ramona Park in North Long Beach, sits in the shadow of an oil refinery just below the 91 Freeway and is a continual theme throughout his music. I’m here to tell the world I’m from Ramona Park,” he raps in the first line of Outro” on Stolen Youth, an early mixtape from 2013.
Directed by Calmatic, who also worked with Staples for the video FUN!” and the music video of the viral hit Old Town Road,” the narrative showcases a distorted sense of creativity. The artistic vision and socially conscious rhymes behind the first episode of The Vince Staple Show” are undoubtedly making waves. Listen to So What?” HERE and check out the show below.