Vince Staples: "Music was not really that important, to be real. Rappers give you that bullshit like, 'Since I was three I've been rapping' and you know it ain't true. The only music I heard was in movies and on TV. Lil' Bow Wow was hot when I was a kid. I'm not going to pretend I was into Biggie and Nas and Pac and all that, I really didn't give a fuck about music. Music was something you heard in church or on the radio. It was always around me but it was not one of my focuses.

"The first rapper I can think about was like Lil' Bow Wow or Lil' Romeo. They were little kids and they were the rappers for little kids. When you grow up you get more into it but that's it. The first time I can really remember a rapper being famous is 50 Cent. I was in 4th or 5th grade when 50 came out, and I was like, 'Wow, this nigga's crazy.' 50 came out when Vice City was out, and everyone was like, 'This is the shit,' just being little bad kids.

 

Lil' Bow Wow was hot when I was a kid. I'm not going to pretend I was into Biggie and Nas and Pac and all that, I really didn't give a f**k about music.

 

"People knew about Snoop but Snoop is from the other side, so niggas weren't really on it like that. But, 'Drop It Like It's Hot,' that's when Snoop was big. There's a lot of pride within in the city. Snoop and Nate Dogg were from Long Beach, so we could always say that we've had a rapper.

"I don't really have influences, but Michael Uzowuru told me, 'You should probably listen to more rap to figure out where you wanna go with it because everybody needs some type of inspiration.' I started listening to more rap, I downloaded a bunch of shit on my computer, and just really started listening and having an appreciation for it. I can't really name anybody specific but I listened to almost everything. I just really got into the music, learning about the art, and having more appreciation for it. I listened to everything from UGK to DJ Quik to Wu-Tang. Everything. I had to follow music so I would know what to do and not be afraid to speak about myself and my life.

"People will think I'm crazy but really my favorite rapper is Young Dro. I was into old Gucci Mane back when he was young and really rapping his ass off. I'm also into DJ Quik, Pimp C, and Andre 3000."