Vince Staples is one of music’s most fascinating enigmas, rising to prominence over the last decade he has successfully set himself apart from the entire hip hop world. Never typecast or pigeonholed through design — Staples is the definition of unfiltered. He always says what is on his mind both through his music, interviews and on his must-follow Twitter account.
Through his unique sound and artistic viewpoint, it’s fair to assume that Staples is a true original. As expected, the albums that changed his life aren’t your typical hip-hop records that one would assume that the 27-year-old grew up on. Whilst it does feature in his list, hip-hop is not an exclusive influence for the rapper and he sought inspiration in other areas. Staples has been shaped by a kaleidoscope of different sounds from various eras and genres.
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. However, perhaps the most interesting entry comes as one of Staples’ first musical memories.
The first pick in Staples’ collection is Lauryn Hill‘s illustrious 1998 effort, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. The record remains Lauryn Hill’s only solo album, which sounds just as good today as it did when the former Fugees member released it over 20 years ago.
“This is my earliest memory of music,” Staples commented. “My mom had this on cassette and would play it every day while picking me up from school. Between that, India. Arie and Kirk Franklin, this connected with me the most. Whether it was dealing with social issues or simply the emotion behind the music, it helped shape some of the views that I still hold with me today.”