Who Is Vince Staples? Image via Corey Smyth

Growing Up In Long Beach

Vince Staples: "My parents are from [Compton]. They moved to Long Beach to get out of the way. Long Beach is like the next step to getting out of the ghetto. I spent a lot of time at my grandparents' house, which is in Compton, when I was younger. I went to school out there up until high school.

"People are too focused on gang banging in Long Beach. Niggas think that's some old shit but not out here. Long Beach, Compton, and this whole area—not necessarily Los Angeles but the places that Los Angeles likes to leave out. That's what it is out here, niggas either grow up gang banging, get old and start gang banging, or they have a regular ass job. It's not a place a lot of people leave.

 

My parents were always trying to live, they didn't really have time to worry about us. You had to take care of yourself. My mom did an amazing job raising all the kids by herself while my dad was incarcerated.

 

"My parents have been through all that [gangbanging] bullshit, so they didn't want me to go through it. But niggas got to learn on their own. It was not that nice of a neighborhood but it's kind of a suburb in the way that it's set up. Everybody knows everybody and it's not too fast paced. It's a decent place to grow up, it just all depends on how niggas want to live their life once they get older.

"My parents were always trying to live. They didn't really have time to worry about us. You had to take care of yourself. My mom did an amazing job raising all the kids by herself while my dad was incarcerated. My parents weren't around because they couldn't be. It wasn't a, 'I'm just going to be lazy and not take care of my kids,' thing. They had to take care of themselves and we had to make do best we could.

"I've got two sisters, two brothers, and one of my sisters has a different dad. It's different out here because your family doesn't really have anything to do with blood because everyone is so separated. I was always really close to my sisters, but my brother went through some shit when we were younger so he wasn't really around. I have a lot of siblings but I am the youngest so I was always off to myself.

 

My friends have been getting killed since I was 14 or 15 and there ain't no prayers or nothing that can help. If a ni**a gets shot and stays in a coma for two days, he's probably going to die. All the prayers in the world can't prevent that.

 

"My dad used to go to jail. My sister's dad died when she was a baby so after that my mom tried to get her shit together. You know how black people get, she started being really religious and shit. Just regretting all the shit she had done and she had to do. I don't care about any of that. The second you see a nigga die you know it's bullshit, because they don't go anywhere. You sit there and see a motherfucker die and say, 'He's gone.'

"My friends have been getting killed since I was 14 or 15 and there ain't no prayers or nothing that can help. If a nigga gets shot and stays in a coma for two days, he's probably going to die. All the prayers in the world can't prevent that. Motherfuckers use religion as an excuse, which why I don't like it. They look at it as an excuse to not do something or not want to work hard, like saying 'God got me,' when that's not the case. That's not how life works."

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