BY: JAMES DIFIORE
Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but until yesterday I had no idea Vince Staples even existed. Many reading this still probably have no idea who he is.
But, while skimming through my news feed yesterday I came across a story where this young rapper said the following in an interview with Time Magazine:
“The 90s get a lot of credit, I don’t really know why. Biggie and 2 Pac, those are the staples of the 90s, I think that’s why they get the Golden Era credit.”
Now, normally we can excuse a youngster for having a stunningly superficial idea of what the 90s provided as far as hip hop music is concerned, but this is an artist who is supposed to be buddies with Snoop and lists Lauryn Hill as one of his all time favourite emcees. How he reconciles his distaste for hip hop in the 90s with these two factoids is a mystery, and leads many to believe Staples is merely trolling for publicity.
But this opinion, apart from being woefully ignorant, seems to be a reaction to modern rappers not feeling they are treated fairly by hip hop heads who are older. There are certainly a ton of older heads who simply won’t give any credit whatsoever to the younger cats trying to make a name, a trend that speaks to the romanticization many have with Golden Era music. This close-mindedness is wrong, but this reaction is just as short-sighted.
I had a mini Twitter war with Staples after watching the Time interview where he doubled down on his displeasure of 90s hip hop.
As far as Staples’ music is concerned, I had a listen to a few tracks before writing this article. It’s not bad. Not great either. But that’s a subjective argument, not a blanket statement on every cat coming out with tracks today.
Because anybody who blankets an entire era with a statement meant to downgrade that era is probably just seeking attention. The only other reason would be a dreadful lack of understanding how movements are made and how paths are paved. Staples would be wise to adjust his mindset before he finds himself at an awards show with Busta Rhymes, DJ Premier or any of the other artists from the era that made his even possible in the first place.