Vince Staples Rejects The Typical Rapper Lifestyle

Are you an outcast in hip-hop? You seem to fit with Odd Future, Earl and them, who are a little more separated than everybody else.
Honestly, I don’t have a really strong relationship with none of them. Earl and Mike G are my homie homies. I done known them since, not younger, younger, but I just recently met them when I started making music. But I’m really not that social. I wasn’t really that social [of a] person coming up. I be in my own lane. When people are you friends, obviously you have something in common with them. You got people like Mike and people like Earl. The Internet. People that I am actually cool with. I never really looked at that as a music relationship, like people say this and that. Me and Earl have literally four songs. And only three of them are out. We only have four songs. Not like we have a vault of music. We don’t make music together—that’s my homie.

I got more songs with Mac Miller than I got with Earl. I got a gang of songs with Mike G. At the time when Earl was gone, I was kicking it with Mike G because I wasn’t trying to be in trouble. I was in L.A. cause I can be in L.A. and there would be no problem. Nobody fucking know me in L.A. cause I am not from L.A., so it was a different experience for me. We just happened to make a lot of songs at the time.

I don’t really work with nobody as far as music, it’s my own thing. It’s funny saying that because I know I got a lot of collaboration projects and things like that. But that’s just how it happened. All them projects come from, “Why don’t you make more music? We should make some music. Come on.” And then we make a fucking mixtape in three days. And everybody’s like, “It’s crazy how you can do that that fast,” and shit like that. It’s really just, I don’t be on it like that. It’s easier to pump out [songs] when you are not doing it every single day and living and breathing it, so to say how people do.

So you take a different approach to making music than most rappers. You do it when you feel like it.
I mean, I’m still young. I’m barely 20. I have to live, you know what I mean? I made my first song when I was 15 and I didn’t make another song for months. I’ve been living my life, life while rapping. It was never no, “I’m going to actually rap and really take my time to focus on it.” I never really looked at it like that until recently. Which I am glad I do now. It’s a very, very good thing that I did that, by the way, to start really focusing on it and whatnot. Before, I was just living. I didn’t want to worry about no rap. You’re not getting paid and you not really getting nothing from it. You still growing up. It’s not going to be the forefront of my shit. I had it to the backburner in the foolish manner. It probably wasn’t smart to do that, but I got where I am now, so I really don’t look down on it.

Did rap keep you out of trouble?
Rap didn’t keep me out of trouble until now. The majority of trouble that I was getting into was while I was still doing rapping ’cause it wasn’t that really of a big deal to me. There are motherfuckers to this day that I know[n] my entire life that have just heard the song that I did. That didn’t know what I was doing for three or four years, ’cause I wasn’t making a big deal. Motherfuckers really walk and say, “I’m a rapper. How you doing? I’m a rapper. My name is this.” I just tell niggas my name is Vince to this day, and I don’t tell them what I do or nothing. Even in places like [the XXL office]—“How you doing? I’m Vince.” I got to get out of the habit, but that’s just the type of person I am.

You’ve collaborated with a lot of people on your past projects. Do you prefer working with people you know or don’t know?
Production, I don’t really care, because I don’t want them around when I am working anyway. People just like to play. It don’t take me no time to make no music. The motherfuckers is around and they want to play and talk and all this other shit. I’d rather not do that. I’d rather focus and get in the zone with my music. I wouldn’t say it’s serious, in a sense. It’s not. I don’t really like to be in that mood when I’m making my music.

But I don’t like rapping with people at all. I don’t care who you are. I don’t like rapping with Earl. I tell him all the time—I don’t like rapping with you. I hate rapping with Mac. Ab-Soul is the worst nigga to rap with. He will make you rap all day, ’cause he don’t stop. Period. He don’t ever stop. At any time of the day, he knocks shit out. We be at Mac Miller’s studio and motherfuckers be in there. He raps all day and if he didn’t, he just gonna look at you and he’ll sit by you and just tap you like, “What’s up?” I’ll be just like, “That’s all I can let go.” That’s pressure. Not even pressure in a bad way—“Aw, I ain’t got verses.” I don’t really do that all day. Every single person you see me working with really, really love that shit. So I can’t work with people that’s doing it for the wrong reasons. I don’t want to be around them and shit. I like being around people like that, because that’s something I really didn’t have when I was first started making music. That’s what I really appreciate the most.

Previously: ScHoolboy Q Is Going On Tour With Vince Staples And Isaiah Rashad
Review: Vince Staples Serves Up Tales Of The Streets In Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 Mixtape