Vince Staples is among a strong class of new West Coast artists making their presence known in the game. Earlier this month, Vince’s name popped up in even more headlines when he released the second installment of his Shyne Coldchain series. The Long Beach rapper decided to rock this one solo, opting to have fewer rap features to show his chilling lyricism over stark production. We caught up with the 20-year-old MC to discuss the moment he wanted to become a rapper, his affiliation with Odd Future, and why he hates collaborating with other rappers.—Eric Diep
XXL: You’ve been on your grind for a while. How does it feel to be recognized in the game?
Vince Staples: It’s the same. I specifically don’t care about that type of stuff. As long I am doing what I am doing and I know I am doing it right then nobody else really matter. It’s on either side of the board. It’s really not a big deal. If you doing something wrong then you probably should be worried. But if you’re doing something right then it’s only a matter of time until it happens.
Was Snoop Dogg someone you looked up to as a rapper?
Never. Cause Snoop was Snoop Dogg. I wasn’t trying to be no rapper when I was a little kid, or even up until recently. I wasn’t trying to be a rapper while I was rapping until I had to really put my mind in that frame. Before that, I didn’t really have no rapper heroes or anything like that.
What was the moment you knew you could make rapping a career?
When I started getting paid. [My first check] was recently, like 2013. Before that, I wasn’t getting paid at all. Then I was like, “Alright, this is cool.” You need initiative, no matter what you are doing, period. Rap is full of people, it’s like an attention-getting sport for a lot of motherfuckers. I just ain’t never been like that. It really never was my forte. That didn’t matter for me. “Oh, you got this many Twitter followers.” That’s enough for a lot of people—especially now. Fan success equates [to] Internet followers. I never cared about that shit. That shit weird to me. That shit the police to me. I don’t want a bunch of motherfuckers know what I’m doing at all times. So I wasn’t really fucking with it in that sense, but as soon as I knew it could actually do something for me, that’s when I really focused on it.
It sounds like you don’t really want to be a rapper.
It’s not that, it’s just you really gotta look at the way this shit is now. It’s not appealing. Everybody doing shit for the wrong reasons. No matter what they are doing, motherfuckers is getting high to look cool. You just gotta really think about that.
What are your reasons for doing this?
I gotta take care of my family. I got a place in it as far as I can actually do something. I have an opportunity to do something that would matter to a certain demographic of people that I know nobody cares about. You know what I mean? Like, why not? It would be stupid to waste that opportunity, because if somebody wasted that opportunity to do something for me when I was growing up, I would have been like, fuck that nigga. Just for the simple fact that you another motherfucker that care for yourself.