On Tuesday, the Long Beach rapper reflected on meeting the Grammy-nominated artist back in 2016, and how they went on to develop a friendship that went far beyond music. Staples said he was introduced to SOPHIE while they were both opening for Flume's Australia tour, and recalled one of the first interactions he every had with the late artist.
"I remember once we were at the pool. She was on her computer, I was doing whatever I was doing. I was like, 'I’ll see you later, Sophie!'" Staples told Rolling Stone. "She looked at me like I was crazy, like, 'How the fuck do you know who I am?'"
Staples acknowledged that he and SOPHIE were on Flume's tour and that the vast majority of concert-goers weren't their for them; however, he noticed that SOPHIE's music always caught everyone's attention—it was something he himself was trying to learn at the time.
"I was learning the importance of grabbing attention, the way certain sounds and textures can turn your head," he said. "We had songs that people liked, but even if they liked the songs, they didn’t demand attention. One thing about Sophie’s music, it demanded attention ... Her music demanded attention. While 30,000 people were waiting for one guy to go on, her music demanded attention."
Shortly after their friendship began to blossom, Staples attended a recording sessions with SOPHIE. At one point during the night, SOPHIE told the rapper she had something for him. It was "Yeah Right," a standout track that would land on Staple's 2017 album Big Fish Theory. Staples said he liked what he heard and then attempted to work with it. But Sophie wasn't initially impressed.
"I tried something, but she said that it wasn’t the attention-grabbing thing that she goes for. So I reapproached it," he remembered. "Sophie was like, 'Don’t tell stories. I don’t care what you’re talking about. The attention is what’s important.' That’s how she worked. At that time in my career, I was at the point where you’re reassessing how you feel about yourself, what your purpose is, what your sonics are. Sophie had something that we were looking for."
Staples and SOPHIE would go on to collaborate on "Samo," another cut off Big Fish Theory, and would keep in contact over the years: They'd run into each other a festivals, share new material, and do the occasional check-up "like you’d do with any of your friends."
But beyond SOPHIE's undeniable music talent, Staples seemed to be most moved by SOPHIE's fearlessness—a trait that he believes can inspire others.
"I’ve seen Sophie around a dozen sessions, around different kinds of people, different genres, different races, different backgrounds, and she was never afraid," he said. "I never saw her once afraid to be who she was, to wear what she wanted, to say what she wanted, to play what she wanted. Not once. I think that’s the most important takeaway: You don’t have to be afraid. Producers, musicians, trans people, people all over, no matter who you are, to be honest — I don’t care who you are, that’s something you could take something from. You don’t have to be fearful. I haven’t once seen fear on Sophie’s face, no matter what."
You can read Staples' full comments here.