Once engrossed in the seedy underworld of the West Coast’s notorious gang scene, Long Beach rapper Vince Staples is ready to shed the glam-coated street cred affiliated with his criminal past. Staples, who depicted his adolescence spent running with a Crip gang, selling drugs and dodging police in his double debut Summertime ’06, says he couldn’t feel further removed from the hip-hop culture that’s currently celebrating him: “I didn’t grow up with people breakdancing; I come from gang culture.” In fact, the emcee’s venture into rap music was first initiated following a stint in Atlanta where his mother sent him to clean up his act, eventually leading to an encounter with Odd Future which thereafter resulted in a speedy ascendance atop the hip-hop echelon. Now 22, the rapper has reflected upon his transgression and seeks to call out the folly associated with society’s embellishment of the so-called “gangster lifestyle.”
“Boyz N The Hood, Menace II Society, all that shit – it’s robbery,” he says. “I don’t know who benefits from that shit. You’ve just seen lowriders and Dickies suits and niggas Crip-walking. That’s tap-dancing, that’s coonery. Nobody’s told the real story.”
Read the full story over on The Guardian. Also be sure to check out visual impressions from House of Vans Hong Kong 2015 featuring Vince Staples.