He’s young, captivating, and he’s powerful live.
American rapper Vince Staples dominated a sold-out Vogue Theatre on Tuesday night at his much anticipated return to Vancouver. After releasing his debut album Summertime ’06 last summer, Staples has stormed through the hip-hop scene globally. The release of his critically acclaimed album was followed by a tour opening for A$AP Rocky, and some major collaborations showcasing his musical diversity, which includes a recently released track with Australian producer Flume.
Opening with the unmistakable intro to “Lift Me Up” got the all-ages audience fired up, ready to see what Staples has in store. From the first few second on stage, Staples was a ball of energy. The 22-year-old would run, dance, and walk from one side of the stage to the other all night, while maximizing audience interaction. With just his DJ behind him, Staples constantly had the crowd in a frenzy.
Jumping in unison, the fans were often heard singing loudly. From “Loca” to “Norf Norf” this crowd knew their Staples. The California rapper did not get tired, and neither did the lively audience. Previously unknown to us, Staples has quite the sense of humour. At one point, prior to “Surf,” Staples asked the young crowd to raise their lit phones up, but specifically asked for iPhones only. He then proceeded to list every iPhone, from 4 to 6S, and said not to raise any androids adding that “if it’s an android, you’re a serial killer. Keep that sh*t down.” Closing his set with “Blue Suede” – from his 2014 release “Hell Can Wait”, the loud and aggressive crowd continued to sing back his lyrics to him word for word.
His lyrics are part of the draw towards Staples’ rap and his albums. The honesty resonates, in songs like “Like It Is” when Staples raps,”I been through hell and back, I seen my momma cry/Seen my father hit the crack then hit the set to flip a sack/ I done seen my homies die then went on rides to kill ’em back/ So how you say you feel me when you never had to get through that?” The song, one of a few on the album, sings like poetry. But poetry is what you get with Staples, even when he speaks.
In a brief chat prior to his show, Staples said his inspiration comes from life, and when it comes to music, he’s always living in the present. “I feel like we can’t focus too much on the current state of [music], we just gotta create it and become part of the moment,” he said. “My job is to make my music, to contribute to what we got going.”
And contribute he did. Last night, Staples delivered a memorable show to his fans, who walked out of the pit in a sweaty, satisfied mess.
But if you still need a reason to love Vince Staples, besides his exceptional debut album, he loves Vancouver. “Canada is fun,” he said, adding that “Vancouver is definitely a great city. It’s warm and welcoming.”
Hopefully that means he’ll be back in Vancity again very soon.
Photos for Vancity Buzz provided by Brandon Artis. Connect with him at @_brandonartis.