Why People Give a Shit about Vince Staples

On the eve of his newest, we break down the Long Beach rapper’s impressive career.

Why People Give a Shit about Vince Staples


Aaron Chan

7/7/2021 12:30 AM

Vince Staples new album (part of two promised in May) is out Thursday at midnight.

Announced three weeks ago with “Law of Averages” his first single since 2019, Staples’ batting average with four regarded albums have proven him to be one of the most significant artists rapping today, creating anticipation for pretty much any full-length project he announces.

Since launching his career with Hell Can Wait EP (2014) and Summertime ‘06 (2015), Vince Staples quickly carved out a niche that extended beyond conventional “head” rap, producing what was likely the most important music by a teenager at the time.

The one-two punch of Big Fish Theory (2017) and FM! (2018), influenced as much by industrial as Southern rap further legitimized Staples as a one-of-a-kind voice who did not cut corners when it came to serious subjects. Between them Staples tackles industry exploitation, Crip culture, community housing, school shootings, heat waves police brutality, and hit and run incidents all in the form of two party records.

Pulling more from newly minted 2000’s Bling (Malapropisms, The Neptunes, humour, boasts, reality phase2, adlibs) than from 90’s New York, Staples’ subject matter and scorecard as an MC were as unconventional as they were impressive and have been unironically taking him to the blogosphere and White festival crowd to the point of diverse exposure.

Vince Staples’ albums have become musical lynchpins during the crux of the Black Lives Matter movement, providing new perspective with cynicism, nihilism, and dark humour. Like Kendrick, Staples’ “contact high” lyricism and deep understanding of his locale give the term “urban” new life.

It’s almost strange to think that there was a time that people referred to him simply as Earl Sweatshirt’s other best friend.

Vince Staples has now achieved an impressive level of celebrity for how challenging his content can be. He’s played Jimmy Fallon three times. He’s had his songs in everything from respectable commercial fare (Queen and Slim, both Creeds) to kids movies (The Spiderverse, Pitch Perfect 3); He’s cameoed on Insecure; he’s shown up in the “Old Town Road (remix)” video; he’s produced his own TV show aptly titled “The Vince Staples Show.”

So in a seemingly unstoppable year of releases, let’s hope one of the most important guys out there making music right now Vince Staples keeps it up for album #4.

Front to Back it 07/09.


Vince Staples’ Last Singles Ranked:


5. "So What"

4. "Sheet Music"

3. "Are You With That?"

2. "Hell Bound (Ad 01)"

1. "Law of Averages"