“When I was a kid, I never wanted to be a rapper.”

Vince Staples is a reluctant MC who happens to be very good at rapping — elite, even. He mixes dark humor with brutal honesty to portray a difficult biography grounded in Long Beach, Calif. A former Crip with an incarcerated father, Staples grew up in a household marred by America’s failed War on Drugs. Now, armed with a burgeoning rap career, the 23-year-old is trying to change that narrative for his community by partnering with the Greater Long Beach YMCA to create the Youth Institute, a program that teaches kids the skills necessary for a career in the music business.

That is the real Vince Staples — not the snarky Twitter troll he portrays online. And his internet persona has gained him significant attention. The kid has jokes for days, and he’s quickly developing a reputation for being much more outspoken than any of his peers. But on record, he raps with the grim, calculated coolness of an OG who’s seen it all — which he has. That combination of wit and wisdom is one of the main reasons he finds himself on the verge of becoming a rap star. The name of his new project, the Prima Donna EP, a seven-track follow-up to his solo debut Summertime ‘06, encapsulates his feelings about his new lifestyle. On the album, which just dropped and can be streamed here, he tackles the ups and downs of being a successful rapper and how it ultimately feels unfulfilling. In short, Vince isn’t impressed.

The rapper's blunt honesty is evident in person as well, as Complex found out in a wide-ranging interview that included Staple's opinions on Young Thug, 1990s rap, how people act a fool online, and more.