Rap fans have so eagerly consumed Vince Staples’ debut album, “Summertime ‘06” since its June release that his cross-country tour is still going strong. After four mixtapes and a well received EP, the Odd Future and Earl Sweatshirt mentee gifted fans a double album of songs about his not-so easy childhood.
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Coming of age
The 22-year-old rapper chose to center his album around this specific tween summer because he says it signifies when he went from a child to a young man. “It was a coming of age sort of thing and since this is my first album, I thought it was a good moment to [focus on],” he tells us.
Staples has released songs in the past that speak to his tumultuous childhood, such as “Nate,” which lyricizes of his father’s criminal background and beating his mother. But he says now that when he was a kid, he didn’t realize his upbringing was different from anyone else’s. “It’s not a sad album,” he says. “The things that were happening at the time didn’t seem that bad because I was a kid.”
Learning the hard way
It wasn’t until he was older that he saw the situation differently. “I learned a lot of hard lessons that summer,” he says. “I learned things that I’m just now fully grasping and understanding the lessons I learned. The things I learned that summer are things I’ll keep with me for a long time.”
Staples says what he learned the most is that life is about experiences and if you don’t learn from what life throws your way, you miss the opportunity to grow as a person.
A well-rounded sound
Growing up in Long Beach influenced his sound, too; Staples draws from rock and synth more than most rappers on the charts. “When you ask people who put Long Beach on the map musically, many people would say Snoop Dogg, but there are just as many people who would say Sublime,” he says.
“Long Beach is very diverse. There’s black people, white people, Asians, Hispanics…It brought a lot of music to my ears.” He waves off the misconception that he’s a “gangster rapper,” saying he doesn’t even really know what that means.
If Staples were to make a “Summertime ‘15” album, he says it would be a little quieter and more of a celebration. “I’ve had a good year. I’ve had a few losses but there have been a lot more good things than bad and I’d want to express that emotion.”
If you go:
Dec. 2, 7:30 p.m.
1026 Spring Garden St., 215-232-2100 www.utphilly.com