The “Rocky and Tyler” tour features A$AP Rocky and Tyler the Creator, but Vince Staples is the rising star to watch.
Staples, who supports two of the biggest names in rap on this tour, says he’s glad to make his “contribution to hip hop” and “do these nice little shows.” But shows like the gig at Matthew Knight Arena are going to be the furthest thing from small. This is a huge hip-hop lineup, especially for Eugene.
Tyler the Creator is the frontman of L.A. collective Odd Future. A$AP Rocky has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the cover of Complex magazine and even starred in the film Dope (2015). But if Staples doesn’t boast “star” caliber yet, you haven’t yet heard his music. He’s just as sharp, if not surpassing his tourmates.
Staples, too, had a role in the movie with A$AP Rocky. “It’s a lot of fun, and I didn’t expect to be that decent at it,” Staples says of his week on the set. “I never wanted to rap when I was younger; I watched more movies than I’ve listened to music.”
The introspective rapper admits he can’t name every song off Illmatic (1994) by Nas, and that makes most traditional rap fans angry. No matter — publications like The A.V. Club listed his debut album, Summertime ’06, as one of the year’s best in 2015.
Staples says he’s never cared for the “boy’s club” of the rap community, anyway, and says he prefers to be honest with himself when he writes. His music, he says, is for those who find solace when he speaks out against the negativity of gang culture, and he says he hopes to inspire people to be more honest with their own identity, too.
When Staples comes to Eugene, he jokes he has plans beyond just performing at Matthew Knight Arena. He’d also like a workout with the Oregon basketball team and “win more championships” for the university.
“I’m going to try to get a practice in before the show because I feel like they could use a lot of my help down there,” Staples says. “I’m a locker-room leader. I’m a spark plug coming off the bench; I don’t need to start.”
Vince Staples performs with A$AP Rocky and Tyler the Creator 7:30 pm Thursday, Nov. 12, at Matthew Knight Arena; $35.50-$49.50; $5 UO student discount.