HHW: You don’t seem like the type to go the major label route. What made you make that decision?
Vince Staples: I needed that bread to provide for my family. I don’t do this rap sh*t for me; I don’t particularly care that much. I didn’t grow up like, ‘ Yeah, I’m going to be a rapper when I grow up.’ It just kind of happened. And I’m thankful for the way it did happen. Don’t get me wrong, but that’s nothing I strived to be when I was younger.
I had to take care of my mother, and they came to me with a situation where they weren’t ganking me out of my money, ganking me out of my publishing or it wasn’t a boo-boo 360 [deal] situation that everybody is getting. It worked out for the best. As far as signing to Def Jam, they had a lot of history in what they were doing. That played a very large part in it. Just knowing that they knew what they were doing was very important to me, because I really didn’t know what I was doing.
HHW: How have your thoughts on being in the streets gang banging changed since you started taking Rap seriously?
Vince Staples: I won’t frankly say that I don’t care about it no more, because I really, really do. It’s just that I understand what it is and what it’s not right now. My priorities are different. I don’t really care about going out and trying to kill nobody no more, because that’s really what it’s about after you’ve been doing it for so long.
HHW: How do you preserve your authenticity in an industry full of fakes?
Vince Staples: I’m not going to let nothing change who the f*ck I am. It ain’t that big of a deal to me. If it work, it work; if it don’t, it don’t. Period.
HHW: You’re pretty present on Twitter. Do you pay attention to any of the digital hate?
Vince Staples: Nah, I don’t really give a f**k about what anybody has to say. Half the people on Twitter I can beat up, so I don’t care about none of that sh*t.
HHW: What are your thoughts on the West finally getting its just due?
Vince Staples: It should have been happening. It’s about time. We’re the main reason why rap is like it is now. N***a really wasn’t trying to be hard like that before our sh*t came out. I feel like we play a large part in it, and we really don’t get that much credit for it. But as of now, it’s getting a lot better than it was.
We got a lot more authenticity than we ever had. We had big problem with a lot of busters trying to pretend like they was doing some sh*t – to the point that n***as think to have any kind of pass you gotta be baggy jean, Levis, white t-shirt type n***a, which ain’t true at all. If you been in these streets, you know it comes in every form; you don’t know who’s who. It’s not about who you are or how you look, it’s about your circumstances.
Music is coming to a point where you have to understand that a little more. I feel like because of that, it’s gonna actually help the people who are actually in those problems, because they’re going to seeing it for what it is.
HHW: When it’s all said in done, what legacy do you want Vince Staples to leave behind?
Vince Staples: I’m trying to get it to the point where I can really change a person’s life focus. That’s really when you’re hard – when you’re the best. The fact Tupac really had n***as on some other sh*t. The fact Biggie really changed the way n***as rapped. There was no champagne and platinum, and all that bullsh*t – it was there, but it really wasn’t on that large scale until Biggie. That’s the reason those names are up there, because they affected the way people looked at life and lived their life.
I’m trying to be one of them. I’m trying to be somebody who can actually make somebody look at life in a different light. I can give a f**k about everything else they can keep. All the other stuff… I just wanna be able to support my family and change someone’s outlook on life, because that outlook is important. Outlooks done killed n***as before.
Earl Sweatshirt ft. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies – “Hive”
Vince Staples – “Guns & Roses” (Prod. By Mac Miller)
Vince Staples – “Trunk Rattle”
Vince Staples ft. Jhené Aiko – “Oh You Scared”
Vince Staples ft. James Fauntleroy – “Nate”