At just 23 years old, Vince Staples has already cemented his status as hip-hop’s young sage. The Long Beach rapper has made a career out of pointed wisdom, both through his bars and his Twitter account that’s now become too sparse. In Vince, Long Beach has a mouthpiece, a voice to share the realities of his hometown in vivid detail and confront the forces that have allowed, if not encouraged, gang violence and police brutality. Everyone is taken to task, from the police and his father to fake thugs and himself.
While Nas made his name through colorful storytelling, Vince has eschewed the flourishes for a more blunt narrative, leaving little time for niceties and simply presenting what is. That trait, along with a stark sense of self-awareness, has made him a master among padawans, a person who puts forth an abundance of raw truth for his listeners to absorb. If you can’t learn something from Vince, you’re probably leaving a lot of lessons in your wake. But to help you out, we’ve put together 15 Vince Staples lyrics for you to internalize on a daily basis.
1. "College was a plan of mine until I seen them fees/Everything I ever needed, I done learned out on them streets"
Song: “Feelin’ the Love”
Lesson: Make the best out of any situation. Autodidacticism can be just as useful as a formal education, if not more. And it never has to end.
2. "Everybody hard until it's only God they seeing/Kitten soft but in they songs be trappin' hard as Jeezy"
Song: “Hive” [Earl Sweatshirt]
Lesson: Be skeptical of those with the most bravado. A real crisis can reveal them to be weaker than they put on.
3. "... Sometimes I wonder/Who the activist and who the devil's advocate/Or do it matter? Shit"
Song: “War Ready”
Lesson: Be wary of people’s true intentions. Someone who may seem to have your back could just be looking out for their own interests.
4. "Them 9-11s been a tad bit frantic/If light start flashin', please don’t panic"
Song: “Hands Up”
Lesson: When cops are trigger ready, you have to have the presence of mind not to do anything that may set them off.
5. "You ain't ready for that war then please don't step across them tracks"
Lesson: Don’t support a cause half-ass. If you’re really about it, you better be ready to work hard and make sacrifices.
6. "I know that money come and go so money not my motive no mo'/ I made enough to know I’ll never make enough for my soul"
Lesson: Find an incentive greater than money. If you lose that cash, you’ll be left with nothing.
7. "On some prima donna shit, finna throw it all away/I don't need no accolades, boy I’m here to act a fool"
Song: “Prima Donna”
Lesson: Awards may be nice, but you should be working for yourself, first and foremost.
8. "A penny saved is a penny earned/So I'll be stacking up this copper as the city burn"
Song: “Progressive III”
Lesson: Saving money is tight. And if you’re really serious, look into precious metals. As Vince said himself: “[A} lot of people don’t know their history of the crashes of copper, silver, and gold. I got grades in history. My precious metal game is immaculate.”
9. "You be into rap beef cause you ain't never have beef"
Lesson: Stop and think about why you’re so invested in a conflict that has nothing do with you. There’s probably a better use of your time.
10. "I feel like 'Fuck Versace,' they rapin' n****’s pockets/And we don't get acknowledged, just thank me for the profit"
Song: “Lift Me Up”
Lesson: Don’t support corporations or any other entities that aren’t willing to give you proper credit. If the love isn’t reciprocal, it’s not worth it.
11. "My seat is back, I'm too relaxed, not movin' out this car"
Song: “Birds & Bees”
Lesson: Know when to simply enjoy the ride.
12. "Only kick it wit the thugs, I ain't never did a drug/When you doing what I does, need your mind right"
Lesson: You can only afford so many vices at once. Drugs can prevent you from accomplishing your goals, especially when you’re already in a dangerous situation.
13. "Hit the corner, make a dollar flippin'/Split the dollars with my mama children"
Song: “Norf Norf”
Lesson: Always take care of family.
14. "I hate when you lie, I hate the truth too"
Song: “Jump Off the Roof”
Lesson: Don’t ask questions you’re not going to like the answer to.
15. "My burner gets stuck if I shoot it too much/So a n***a resorted to domin'"
Lesson: If you’ve got limited chances, make sure you get the maximum value out of each one.