Last year’s kerfuffle over athletes kneeling for the National Anthem resulted in about a million opinion pieces, social media battles between athletes and people with Twitter handles like @MAGAPepe2ADefender, and more than one outburst from the President and Vice President.
Amidst all this turmoil, one man offered a clear-eyed, sober assessment of the foofaraw:
As usual, Vince Staples was right. The National Anthem does not slap one bit.
The 24-year-old Compton-bred artist exploded on the scene in 2015 with the release of his album Summertime ’06. It was a breath of fresh air in a hip-hop landscape that, with a few exceptions, had grown increasingly stale. Staples is one hell of an MC, but that’s not why you should appreciate him.
You should also appreciate him because…
Usually when I call a public figure who’s not a comedian “hilarious,” what I really mean is “They’re as funny as I would expect a non-comedian to be.” But when I say Vince Staples is hilarious, I mean he is legitimately hilarious, as in could-be-a-comedian-if-he-wanted hilarious.
Don’t believe me? Here he is reviewing the fashion choices of NBA players for GQ:
“Carmelo look like he work on a tugboat with that stupid-ass hat on and them ugly-ass shoes” will never not be funny to me. (Other highlights include Staples telling Russell Westbrook “You can do what you want…but stop wearing Keith Haring shirts” and “Anthony Davis looks like a rapper’s friend.”)
In fact, Staples is so funny that GQ created an entire video series solely around the premise of listening to Vince Staples offer his opinions on things. It’s fantastic.
His Twitter Game Is Impeccable
If you’re on Twitter at all, you’ve seen the kinds of people who retweet their own tweets just to boost likes and favorites from random people. (Or, worse, the people who quote-tweet their own tweet in a reply to someone else’s tweet, which never gets the results they’re expecting.)
Vince Staples does not promote his tweets. Quite the opposite, in fact; he regularly deletes his old tweets. They’re like little shooting stars: if you’re not on Twitter when he unleashes one of his gems, odds are you might never see it. As an example, that “National Anthem” tweet up top? Lost to the sands of time. I mean, it’s still screenshotted, but that’s not the same.
He Loves To Argue With People Who Don’t Like Him
Staples has recently received criticism from concert attendees for his performances. According to these few but vocal dissatisfied customers, Staples’ performances lack the requisite energy they expected. Now, if you’ve listened to or watched Vince Staples at any point in the past, you would already know that he’s extremely laid-back; if someone showed up expecting a DMX concert, that’s on them.
Nevertheless, Staples has gotten fed up with these complaints, so yesterday, he unveiled a GoFundMe campaign titled “#GTFOMD”:
If you don’t feel like watching the video (you should, because it’s 45 seconds long and it’s great), #GTFOMD stands for Get The Fuck Off My Dick. Basically, Staples has set a $2 million goal for his GoFundMe. If he raises $2 million, he promises to disappear completely – no music, no public appearances, no limelight, nothing. The $2 million would also allow him to, in his words:
– Move to Palmdale
– Buy a Honda
– Year supply of soups for the homies locked down
– Buy a puppy
If he does not meet the $2 million goal, you are cordially invited to get the fuck off (his) dick. As of today, the campaign has raised a little over $1,300, so the getting-off-his-dick outcome seems more likely.
He’s Refreshingly Honest
The. National. Anthem. Don’t. Even. Slap.
Don't be silly, the Vince Staples live performance is on par with something you'd see in Centre Pompidou. Increase your understanding.
— Vince Staples (@vincestaples) February 26, 2018
Seriously, I cannot recommend enough that you watch these videos of Vince Staples critiquing people.
It’s a pretty common trope to say that “[Celebrity X] doesn’t care what you think.” Someone like Kanye West claims not to care what you think, but secretly, he is consumed by what others think of him. He’s driven by it. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – it’s worked pretty well for Kanye so far.
Vince Staples, on the other hand, really, truly, genuinely, passionately does not give a fuck what you think. In fact, he would rather not hear what you think unless he asks you what you think, which he won’t, because he doesn’t give a fuck what you think, also why are you still here?
He’s One Hell Of An MC
All of this, of course, is secondary to Vince’s actual job: hip-hop.
There are plenty of artists who are funny, self-aware, and great at social media, and more often than not, it’s because the actual music side of the equation is lacking. By the same token, there are some artists who are bland, uninteresting, and either don’t say much of anything or speak almost entirely in empty platitudes.
Vince Staples is so talented that he doesn’t need to be good at the PR portion of his job. But he is.
Summertime ’06 is one of the first hip-hop albums in a long time that I was able to put on and not have a reflexive, stodgy, “This is not hip-hop” reaction. After years of wondering if I was just too old to “get” hip-hop anymore, this album brought me back into it. And last year’s follow-up Big Fish Theory is one of the best albums of the year.
If you haven’t caught on to Vince Staples yet, do yourself a favor and hop on that train. Who knows? One day he might just vanish forever.