Stolen Youth is the new album from Vince Staples, the LA rapper who previously flourished on the fringes of the Odd Future scene. Staples' voice is slack but unflappable and his outlook is cooly cynical. My expression is bleak because my mama ain't raised no bitch he boasts on "Thought of You." There's joy in his shit talking, and that skillful play makes a purposeful compliment to the album's warm, yawning production, done by Mac Miller as Larry Fisherman. As Mac Miller, he raps on two tracks, plus Ab-Soul plays big brother on "Killin Y'all" and Schoolboy Q heckles on "Back Sellin' Crack." Below the download, read a quick email chat with Staples about Long Beach, getting off Tumblr and embracing smart but not "conscious" rapping.
Download: Vince Staples, Stolen Youth
What was your upbringing like? I grew up in Long Beach basically, hopped around a little bit. Stayed in Compton and Lynwood for a little while. Mom always had a job, we always had somewhere to stay, just wasnt the best compared to others. Regular black kid shit.
Why do a whole project with Mac Miller beats? What about Mac makes him a good collaborator? He had the bangers at that point in time and he was willing to work. Mac is a real music nigga, actually, it's funny. He studies it, whether it's instruments or other artists as a whole. So that really helps the way his production comes out.
What's the story behind "Guns & Roses?" Mac made the beat and that's what came to mind at first. It was inspired by the music, I guess you can say. I don't sit down and think of concepts like what. What needs to be said on the song will be said. I don't feel as if I should overthink things things. If you're a part of certain situations, you're naturally gonna speak about it.
How would you feel about being labeled a "conscious" rapper? I don't see myself as a conscious rapper, I doubt anyone really does. My subjects ain't the most positive. That concious shit is corny to me anyway, and nine times out of ten it's a front. I’d never want to be one of those niggas.
Does hanging out on Tumblr make people more or less creative? I don't get on the Internet like that, the shit is a waste of time. Especially with music, because it gives people this false sense of reality. Turns niggas into weirdos.
On "Killin Y'all," Ab-Soul says you know now what he did at 26. Is that true? I guess you can say that. Certain situations require you to grow up faster than others. Maturity comes with experience and knowledge, not with age.
What food do you like to cook and how do you make it? I don't cook. I got bitches.
2. Fantoms f. Joey Fatts
3. Heaven f. Hardo and Mac Miller
4. Guns & Roses
5. Back Sellin’ Crack f. Schoolboy Q
6. Stuck In My Ways
7. Killin’ Y’All
8. Thought About You
9. Sleep f. Dash, Ab-Soul and Mac Miller