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A Hip-Hop Staple

Vince Staples, who recently signed to Def Jam Records, released Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2 in March 2014 —the fourth mixtape he’s dropped since 2011. 

At 21 years old, the emerging MC from Long Beach, Calif., has been able to work with some of the most beloved rappers in the industry. His favorites include Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt and Mac Miller — who produced his album Stolen Youth (2013) under the pseudonym Larry Fisherman. Staples also had the opportunity to work with one of hip hop’s most seasoned veterans, Common, for the Chicago rapper’s upcoming LP Nobody’s Smiling.

“He taught me how to become an artist to the point where people aren’t buying your music just to buy your music,” Staples says of Common. “They’re buying you.”

Staples, who grew up listening to Lil Wayne, Lil’ Bow Wow and Ja Rule on Los Angeles hip-hop radio stations, admires the longevity of Common’s career. He says he didn’t realize he wanted to be a rapper, however, until L.A. producer Sydney Bennett (“Syd Tha Kyd” from Odd Future) helped him “level out” his life just a few years ago. 

“I was still young, because I’m young now, but music wasn’t really a part of my growth,” Staples says. “They kind of gave me the push to want to make music.” 

While he may still have his gripes with the music industry — for one, he thinks the internet makes it “too easy” to become a rapper — Staples says he’s excited to keep recording and putting out music. He adds that it “won’t be too long” before he makes another video like he did with director Alexi Papalexopoulos for “Nate” earlier this year.

“I’m lucky,” Staples says. “It’s cool to kick it with the homies and get paid to screw around on stage.”

Vince Staples performs with Audio Push and Skeme 9 pm Saturday, July 19, at WOW Hall; $12 adv., $15 door.