Vince Staples Q&A: The Most Exciting Man in Rap Drops Knowledge
What kind of sound did you tell him you were looking for?
Honestly, I didn’t really tell him. I showed him pictures. I’d say like, “You know how Downtown L.A. looks?” I was like, “Make it sound like 5th and Hill, but up at the top of the hill.” Or I said, “Make this sound like that one part of American History X. It took a minute, but they figured it out. No I.D. takes pictures and stuff like that, so he kind of understood what I meant.
What’s something about Long Beach that we wouldn’t understand in other parts of the country?
It’s back to what we just said: The dude’s manager was like, “I thought you were on some white-boy shit.” When you look at Snoop Dogg when he first came out, if you really think about it, he looked like he was in Suicidal Tendencies. Fucking big-ass flannels, shit wasn’t baggy. That was a different time period, but we live on a fucking beach. It’s like motherfuckers are waiting for me to put on a Dickie suit or something crazy or corny like that. It’s very multi-cultural in a sense. You have a lot of Asian people, a lot of white people, a lot of black people, a lot of Mexican people. And it’s not separated by that, it’s separated by distribution of wealth. So you’re exposed to a lot.
Sounds like what you’re saying in the interlude on “Like It Is,” about how the people who control things in the community look down on the community.
They don’t give a fuck about you. They don’t give a fuck about me. If you don’t have enough money to change their life, they don’t care who you are. We make everything black or white, we make everything about the things that don’t matter: gay/straight, stupid shit that no one really cares about, no matter how much they tell you they do. They just want to feel important, and they want to demean other people ’cause it makes them feel better about themselves.
In your life and in your value system, what are the things that do matter?
That changes over time, of course. But the fact that we don’t look at people like they’re people is the craziest part to me. Like, when all that church shit happened it was so sad to me. ‘Cause it was like, “See this what I’m talking about: Everybody hates black people.” Well that limits people’s ability to connect. That’s what happens when you make things about gender or color or things like that. ‘Cause you can look at a white person all day and say, “Black people just keep dying.” They’re going to feel sympathy for you, but they won’t have a personal connection because they’ll never know what it’s like to be a black person. Same thing: We’ll never know what it’s like to be white. The fact that it’s not just “a person died”: Everybody knows how that feels to be a person. That just shows that we gauge humanity based on the wrong things.