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.”

Vince Staples

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.

What To Read Next