ACL Review: Vince Staples

SoCal MC delineates which police to mess with

“Don’t be scared. Walk your little ass up here,” said West Coast truth teller/comedian Vince Staples on Saturday, escorting a freckled-faced preteen who said he’s “in the seventh grade.”

Photo by John Anderson

“If you think you’re nice, and you wanna fuck with the youth, let me know,” Staples continued, commenting on the boy’s (apparently renowned) skating video game skills. And so went Vince Staples’ “big and bright” waste laying of the Austin Ventures stage.

The Long Beach rapper’s unusually sophisticated sense of humor disarms, but immediately challenges your view of a “gangsta rapper.” At odds with his playful persona, a quick review of lyrics found in “Señorita” and “Fire” could cause antennae twitches for some. The young wordsmith doesn’t exactly hide his Long Beach Crip affiliation.

Staples encouraged a sing-along for “Blue Suede,” enlightening those unfamiliar to life and death actualities coming up in Long Beach’s Northside: “You dig your own grave when you fuckin’ with the Lord/ Catch a fade, probably gonna go to hell anyway.”

Though guilty of the crowd-baiting “fuck the police” chants, Staples’ jocularity emerged when he hilariously ran down a list of “police” he doesn’t fuck with.

“Fuck Django [Unchained] for being a bounty hunter, because that’s basically the police. Fuck [Notorious B.I.G. associate] Lil’ Cease, because he told on Lil’ Kim [in the femcee’s 2005 perjury trial]. Fuck CSI, Matlock, LL Cool J, Ice-T, [and] any rap nigga that turned into a cop.”

Toward the end of his set – his crowd now doubled and illuminating his weird hodgepodge of random trivia – his previous attempt at further stirring up the pot with his rendition of “Deep in the Heart of Texas” worked to much greater effect. Why would he even know that song? Well done, Staples.

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Vince Staples, ACL Fest 2015, Notorious B.I.G., Lil’ Cease, Lil’ Kim, Matlock, LL Cool J, Ice T

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