Vince Staples is from Long Beach. Though the MC is not of legal drinking age yet, he’s quickly becoming one of the more promising hardcore rappers from the West. Through affiliations with cats like Earl Sweatshirt, A$AP Yams, and Alchemist, Staples has gotten some notable looks but it’s his Stolen Youth mixtape with Mac Miller (on the beats no less!) that gives a fuller understanding of what he’s capable of.
As the title might suggest, Stolen Youth is equal parts retrospective memoir and rap tape. For every song Vince has where he and his guests are being gratuitous and typical, even with great execution, he makes sure the tape has cuts that deepen the scope of the project. “Back Selling Crack” with Schoolboy Q is unabashedly hood, giving zero fucks while “Guns and Roses” has Vince stringing a narrative with typical neighborhood archetypes. Throughout the tape, the discerning listener gets an understanding that apart from being precociously talented, Vince Staples is fighting the perennial battle of being a rapper from the hood, getting on telling hood tales but is somehow trying to leverage that into benefitting the hood in some way, shape or form. Or maybe I’m projecting.
My favorite piece on the project is “Thought About You.” Perhaps a bit saccharine, the obligatory heartfelt track has stuck to me like a barnacle. Vince has since signed to Def Jam Records so this very well may be just the beginning in the legacy of Shyne Choldchain.