Vince Staples is one of music’s most fascinating enigmas, reaching prominence over the last decade, he has become a byword for creativity. He’s an impossible character to pin down as just one thing fully. Never typecast or pigeonholed through design — Staples is the definition of unfiltered and unchanged. He always says what is on his mind both through his music, interviews and on his must-follow Twitter account. But there’s one man who can perhaps trump him on all those facets — Kanye West.
Through his unique sound and artistic viewpoint, it’s fair to assume that Staples is a true original. As expected, when selecting the albums that changed his life, the list was not full of your typical hip-hop records. Staples has been shaped by a kaleidoscope of different sounds from various eras and genres. However, Kanye West’s influence on his sound is there for all to see.
The rapper currently has three albums under his belt, and each record has seen him become more and more revered. He doesn’t fit into any of the stereotypes associated with hip-hop, you’re not going to find any in Vince Staples, and his favourite records reflect this. You’re not going to find Vince Staples popping champagne in a nightclub. Instead, the proud teetotaller who never has drunk or taken illicit drugs in his whole life would rather spend his nights at home playing video games and drinking Sprite.
He’s an artist who respects others who are seemingly out on their own two feet and doing things their way, rather than following the crowd. Following the release of his emphatic debut record, Summertime ’06 in 2015, Staples opened up to Tidal about the five records that had the greatest impact on his life, he gave a special mention to Kanye West’s iconic LP Colege Dropout.
There can be no doubt, Kanye West is one of the most influential artists of the 21st Century, and popular music has been two very different beasts pre and post Kanye. Staples decided to keep his eulogization of College Dropout short and sweet on this one, saying: “Kanye West is the greatest of all time and this is his first album. Self-explanatory.”
However, in another interview with The Guardian, Staples divulged: “I heard College Dropout in sixth grade. He’s an artist, where there’s no trajectory, and you can make whatever you want. We call musicians artists, but we don’t treat them like they are, because you can’t tell an artist what to do.
“Imagine walking into a museum and telling Andy Warhol, Basquiat, Robert Longo, Jeff Koons: ‘You should have done this different. I would have used red paint.’ Do you know how crazy they would look at you? I would never in a million years question someone’s craft. I appreciate it for what it is.”