Vince Staples Featured On NPR: All Things Considered " Weekend Edition Sunday"

Vince Staples: 'We Live In A Space Where Your Name Isn't Enough'

Long Beach, Calif., has produced such legendary rappers as Snoop DoggWarren G and the late Nate Dogg, all of whom won international acclaim — and persistent criticism — for work that some said glorified gang life. Now, a generation later, the city has a new star: Vince Staples.

 

Staples first turned heads with his album Summertime '06, released in 2015, about growing up in Long Beach and his time in the notorious Los Angeles gang the Crips. Two years later, Staples is still getting acclaim for his music. Rolling Stone called him "one of hip-hop's true rising stars" — and he's only 23.

 

Now, Staples is getting ready to release a second album, which he told Vice will be called Big Fish Theory. He's currently touring, and on his way through Washington, D.C., he stopped by NPR's studios to speak with Michel Martin. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and read on for an edited transcript.

 

Michel Martin: I take it you're not all that comfortable with the acclaim you've received. I read in one interview that you said, "I'm not a star. I'm a person with a job."

Vince Staples: That was me being sarcastic because, you know, they liked it. No, it's just — the idea of the "magical Negro."

 

So you're not magical.

No, what a magical Negro means is "Oh, you're smart?" "Oh, you're talented?" That means they're assuming that you're not supposed to be. So they can kind of keep those compliments — they're backhanded.

 

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