Vince Staples is a well-known rapper and actor from North Long Beach, California. But, outside of his musical career, Staples has made a name for himself on the Internet, in raising awareness and speaking out against injustices in his own unique, NFG kinda way.
In fact, despite his celebrity status and gang-affiliated background, Staples has used his platform to give back to the community, in assisting in a YMCA program to benefit North Long Beach youth. In addition to being of financial assistance, he’s also a positive example to those that look up to him, in being one of the very few sober musicians.
However, according to Staples, his new title as the “sober rapper” was not something he sought for, in fact, “it’s not something that I honestly ever think about.”
“I just never wanted to,” Staples said, of never having done drugs or been drunk. “I’m not the kind of person that will do something that I don’t want to do.”
“They don’t expect this from a young black musician my age from where I come from,” Staples continued. “Like, how could you end up being in the ghetto, went through this, went through that, and not experienced drugs, not experienced alcohol?”
“When you’re surrounded with death and dismay and poverty and all these things that happen every day, I didn’t have time to worry about using or partaking in certain things,” Staples said. “People, where I come from, don’t use drugs in a recreational sense. We’re not at a party, or at the rock show, or at the rap show, doing lines in the bathroom.”
“Where I come from, life comes day after day after day, and people use these things to cope,” Staples explained. “People use drugs as a coping mechanism, and I’ve always held that reality. Reality hurts, but so does addiction – it’s just which pain you choose. That’s the reality of my situation.”
And to Staples, the reality of his situation is deeply rooted in survival and self-sufficiency.
“We all have different things that we go through, and different things that we see, and these things collectively go together to make us the people that we are together. I’m a hundred percent sure it played some part, but I never had time to think about whether my father’s addiction issues led to me not doing drugs because I was too busy trying to cope with the reality of people dying and people trying to kill me every day. That was really where my focus was,” he told GQ. “When you have to think about your next 15 minutes – you have to think about the walk to the store, you have to think about how you’re getting to school, you have to think about the bus ride home, you have to think about how you’re going to sneak a gun into the football game – the last thing I was thinking about was getting high.”