Vince Staples is sitting in a pristine corporate boardroom, feasting on piles of fries, coleslaw, chicken and an assortment of unidentifiable fried foodstuffs. The Long Beach rapper is here to talk about Watch Dogs 2, Ubisoft’s open-world game (due out November 15th) that takes direct cues from the post-Snowden, post-Trump dystopia in which we’re currently living. Staples has a song on the game’s soundtrack, called “Little Bit of This,” and naturally, the 23-year-old jumped at the opportunity to play the game prior to release and consume a mountain of carbs on the company dime.
Over the past few years, Staples has established himself as one of the funniest and most candid interviews in the music business. We talked to him about his personal history with gaming, his favorite Hitman kills, and that time Leonardo DiCaprio FaceTimed him while playing Halo.
What did you grow up playing? What are your earliest video game memories?
The earliest game I can think about would be Mortal Kombat. My dad would send me to his friend’s house to play with his kids and they had Mortal Kombat and Mario on Super Nintendo.
So you started with Super Nintendo? You didn’t jump into the 64?
Yep, started with Super, then the Nintendo 64. Turok: Dinosaur Hunter used to scare the shit out of me. For whatever reason, it just scared me. My mom got me Tomb Raider on PC. I forget which one it was, but there was a level where there was a tiger inside a cave, and I never got out of the cave because I was scared of the tiger. But once I killed the tiger, I climbed out of the cave, but I forgot to save, so I stopped playing it. Then I went full PS1 – Crash Bandicoot, things like that.
Who’s the most famous person you’ve played video games with?
I’m not sure. Earl Sweatshirt. Leonardo DiCaprio was playing Halo this one time when he FaceTimed me and my friend. Seemed like he was doing a pretty good job. It was weird.
You mentioned once that your mom kept you pretty much stocked with games your whole life.
I’ve never not had a video game. Ever. There was never a game that came out that I wanted that I didn’t get.
How did this Watch Dogs thing come together?
Well, they ended up using a song, which we are grateful for. And they asked if I wanted a copy of the game, and I love the game, it’s amazing. I liked the first one a lot. They asked if I wanted to talk about the game to people, and I know more about video games than music, so sure.
Is surveillance something you’re interested in, in general?
Hell no, I sign every user agreement in front of my face. I never read them. I don’t care. Fuck it. It’s fine.