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The Vince Staples Show, Premiere, Los Angeles

Vince Staples has always presented himself as a principled individual and remains one of the greatest minds in Hip-Hop, even if his observations rankle some. The Long Beach, Calif. native recently spoke at an event in his hometown and was asked about the ongoing Drake and Kendrick Lamar but his answer was directly aimed on critiquing the music industry.

Vince Staples, 30, was a guest at the first annual Youth Day in the LBC event over the weekend which also featured a town hall with Long Beach Mayor Rex Richard alongside the rapper and actor. Fans in attendance were allowed to ask questions and the fan wanted Staples’ opinion regarding Hip-Hop’s hottest feud.

In his signature deadpan fashion, Staples harkened back to similar thoughts he shared on The Joe Budden Podcast where he tried to explain to the cast why the war between Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and J. Cole was largely pointless and the only ones to benefit are the labels. Staples’ point was largely dismissed as he refused to engage in zeroing in on the beef and instead sticking to his morals that the industry is in literal shambles.

“That record label just folded all of its independent labels and subsidiaries into each other,” Staples shared of his current record label, Universal Music Group, which he’s been signed to since he was 17. Staples explained that the label hasn’t paid him since 2018.

Staples then explained that the dissolving of the independent labels and subsidiaries also meant that Black folks who have been invested in growing the Hip-Hop and R&B sectors of their labels are either without a job or moved into positions outside their wheelhouse.

“None of them [labels] exist no more. They fired all the heads of the labels and if they didn’t, they turn them into glorified A&Rs. They cut off 50 percent of the people who work in all these departments, most of those people is us, people of color, that come from hip-hop and R&B and these other things, right?” Staples continued.

In a somewhat somber fashion, Staples essentially said that a Hip-Hop beef is the least of his concerns while the industry he’s been a part of as a teenager is crumbling before his eyes.

“So then we getting priced out of our contracts, we getting priced out of our imprints. There are no labels, basically, that are incentivized to sign Black music and it’s happening in front of our eyes,” Staples shared. “While Taylor Swift is fighting for people to be able to have streaming money, n*ggas is on the internet arguing with each other about some rap sh*t. So that’s how I feel about it, honestly.”

Much like his comments on the JBP, Staples’ comments found their way online and fans have reacted to portions of his answer. Some fans also took aim at Staples for, in their view, evoking respectability politics. Staples also caught wind of those who didn’t enjoy his commentary.

We’ve got comments from all sides below.

Photo: Getty