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Hot! Vince Staples On Speaking For Himself Ain’t Not The Entire Coast

Long Beach Rap Artist Vince Staples

As one of the most prolific, consistent and prodigious rappers to emerge in recent years, Mr. Staples, who turns 24 in July, has already been held up as a last-gasp protector of many things thought to be endangered: hip-hop lyricism, West Coast gangster rap, in-the-trenches protest songs, social-media authenticity and so on. He wants no part of it.

“I just make the music,” Mr. Staples, who’s from Long Beach, Calif., said recently, “and people draw the parallels.”

Like the too-smart kid in class who would rather pick at the teacher’s semantics than give a straight answer, Mr. Staples can turn cagey when he feels himself being made into any sort of poster child. In conversation, despite his reputation for wry, incisive commentary on Twitter and podcasts, the needle-sharp rapper prefers to wiggle out of illuminating his own intentions and influences rather than over-explain; he is content to let his creative output stand for itself.

There is no shortage of work to pore over: Since surfacing as a teenage affiliate of the Odd Future collective, . Mr. Staples has released two major-label albums and two EPs, each with a cohesive sound and exhaustive thematic concept that extends to surrealist videos and artwork . His latest LP, “Big Fish Theory,” trades the minimalist ’90s homage of his double-disc 2015 debut album, “Summertime ‘06,” for the electronic, industrial dance music cacophony favored, at times, by Kanye West and Danny Brown.


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