Vince Staples is a fountain of knowledge, and when he speaks, everybody should listen. He is one of the most thought-provoking rappers of his generation, an enigma, and these are all words used to describe the name Staples thinks is the best rapper alive.
Staples is an impossible character to pigeonhole. He reverts any preconceptions that people have about the stereotypical rapper lifestyle while still going bar-for-bar with anybody. While he might be teetotal and socially conscious, the Californian’s confidence to not fall into the trappings of the hip-hop cliche only makes him more likeable.
Kendrick Lamar, a fellow teetotaler from California, is someone that Vince holds in the highest regard, and for him, nobody comes close to King Kenny right now.
“Talking about all-time, we can say Michael Jordan is still alive, but he’s not beating LeBron James one-on-one. You talking about right now, it’s Kendrick. Easy,” Staples said in 2017 on Power 106’s The Cruz Show. “It’s not even close. Or [it’s] Kanye.”
That same year as Staples gave the ultimate pops to Kendrick, the two linked up on the infectious ‘Yeah Right’ on Big Fish Theory, and their combination was a lethal one.
Explaining why Kanye still gets a silver medal in his book, Staples put this down to his power to cause the culture to change, and not just his ability on the microphone.
He continued: “I’m a tell you why I would put Kanye over Eminem as far as the best conversation. Because there’s not really many kids walking around saying, ‘I wanna be Eminem.’ [There was not a lot] who were dressing like him, walking like him. That clothing line wasn’t booming. ‘I’ll give you the [blond] Caesar cut.'”
Staples also said why he didn’t think that high record sales don’t make you an elite rapper, and art always shines through. He added: “As far as sales going in music, we can’t have that be in the conversation about who is best, because that’s what people use when they try to compensate for a lack how they feel about the art. Even if Drake didn’t sell a crazy amount, his influence and how his music touches people, he’d still be Drake. Same goes for Chance the Rapper,” he added.
After everything Lamar has achieved in the past decade, it’s hard to disagree with Staples’ suggestion that he’s in a league of his own, and Kendrick’s Pulitzer Prize speaks for itself.