This Friday, Vince Staples will release Big Fish Theory, his sophomore full-length album on Def Jam. To get the word out, Staples has done a media blitz the past two weeks, including a hilarious and, at times, extremely awkward interview with Vulture.
During the Q&A, writer Frank Guan asks Staples if he could reveal some of the producers who will be credited on the new album. Staples consults with his manager and publicist, but together, they decide that it would spoil the reveal.
When Guan explains that some of the names are published on Vince's Wikipedia page, the Long Beach rapper agrees but says Wikipedia credits cannot always be trusted. "I recently saw myself on a tracklist for the Eminem album, so you never know," he says. "I’ve never met him in my life."
Using Vince name-dropping Eminem as a segue to his next question, the following exchange takes place:
But he’s meant something to you? As an influence, or an example …
Oh hell no.
I like 8 Mile though, I love it. I love 8 Mile. And I liked “My Name Is” when I was a kid, and I really liked “Without Me.” “Guess who’s back, back again.” The funny thing is that, no one really cares. They just want to say, “Look what I know.” We’re not in the business of selling hype. We’re here to make songs. If the beautiful people down at Def Jam Records want to display that, that’s something they can do. But my job, I make the songs, I give them to the dealer. The dealer finds the buyer. On the world’s biggest art gallery, the internet. And also maybe Target.
While most emcees in Vince's shoes—23 years old, signed to Def Jam—would lie and make up some bullshit reason why Eminem, indeed, was a major influence on their career in rap, Vince, as we have learned over the years, is not most emcees. Rather than give Guan the answer he probably expected when he asked about Shady, Vince gave the quintessential Vince response.
And it makes perfect sense, too. Not only have the two never met or worked together but Vince was only six years old when Eminem released his major label debut, The Slim Shady LP, in 1999. He was nine when 8 Mile was released in theaters. Sure, Eminem was signed by Dr. Dre, a pioneer of the same West Coast hip-hop movement that inspired Vince to pursue a career in rap, but that is as much as Vince Staples has in common with Eminem.
Vince Staples, forever keeping it one hundred.