The first talent to be featured in our Monthly Come Up segment is Vince Staples. The 22-year-old, California born rapper is known for his association with Odd Future and the Cutthroat Boyz, with the latter group being a compilation of the rappers A$ton Matthew, Joey Fratts, and Vince Staples. In addition, Staples has a number of mixtapes to his name, one being with Mac Miller, as well as a debut album titled Summertime ’06. This album was critically acclaimed, but somehow it felt as though it did not get the widespread attention that it should have warranted.
Overall, Staples is definitely an artist that is well deserving of recognition. Just this past week he performed a new version of his song “Timeless” with James Blake and Bon Iver on stage at Glastonbury, a music festival held in the UK, and the performance provided a clear example of the musical ability that Vince Staples has. Staples is able to blend with the sound of Blake and Iver while still bringing forth his own energy. Even though he was planted in front of the mic during the entire performance, Staples was still animated and able to energize the crowd.
Now, to introduce you to Vince Staples we have compiled three of his notable songs that are a great representation of what he brings to the table as an artist. The first song, “Lift Me Up”, off of his debut album Summertime ’06, perfectly illustrates his lyricism and sound.
“My momma was a Christian, Crip walkin’ on blue-waters
Was fadin’ up in Davis, then walkin’ back to Palmer
A fro like Huey partner, Auntie Angie had them choppers
So tell me what’s the difference, so tell me what’s the difference?”
From simply watching the video for this song, it obvious that Vince Staples is incredibly talented. The video starts off presenting the scenery of Long Beach, California, where Staples was born. The visuals of this city are beautiful and picturesque, but the ominous beat in the background foreshadows a darker message. The camera then begins to spin in a circular motion, and the video shows different shots of Staples hunched over and laying down. Throughout these images, Staples raps about a number of different people, including his mother, over a dark sounding beat to paint a picture of what life was like for him living in Long Beach, California. To sum it up, the video essentially has Staples’ dead body lifted up to the afterlife as he speaks about the tough circumstances of living in Long Beach. All in all, everything about the video and song is potent with creativity and talent.
“What’s your addiction baby? Love can make a bitch go crazy
Kiss, hug, fuck and then get faded, fall out and it’s all out war
Head twirl and your vision blurry, dopeman in that kitchen stirrin’
Sold it, we so lit, dope burners, fuck is you so forgetful for?”
This song, “Jump off the Roof” featuring Snoh Aalegra, once again captures who Vince Staples is. He has a different type of sound from most rappers and he does not shy away from discussing deep topics such as love and drug addiction, which is what the song is mainly about. The overall message is that as a result of these issues of love and drug addiction Vince Staples has to take a metaphorical “jump off the roof” to get back where he needs to be, and those sentiments are ones that many of us can relate to.
“’94, would’ve had ’em walking down Death Row
First is when the best go, hate is what the rest do
Voice inside my head told me, ‘Wet ’em if they test you’
So it’s Raging Waters season
That yomper big as Larry Johnson, leave your momma seedless”
Although Vince Staples is only featured in this song “Hive”, featuring Earl Sweatshirt and Casey Veggies, he still delivers a great amount. The overall message of this song is the most ominous and dark sounding of the three listed, and includes a couple of different things that are important to pick up on. 1) The video is influenced by the famous children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are”, as the individuals in the video wear garments reminiscent of the beats found in the book. 2) Earl Sweatshirt’s flow is almost unmatched in this song. 3) Staples mentions annihilating the competition, via referencing the Holocaust at the beginning of his verse, which adds to the ominous tone of the song.
For more on Vince Staples, you can check out his interview with Sway in the Morning below: