Vince Staples is only 21 years old but he’s wise beyond his years. While he’s quick to recall some of the more violent events of his Long Beach upbringing, as evidenced by some of the harsh tales on his Hell Can Wait EP, he understands that there’s more to life than gang banging and repping for dead homies. He knows his history too, as he’s able to explain how a place like South Central got it’s name. Plus he’s keenly aware of the stereotypes of “the hood” and how rappers make it seem like their hometowns are battleground akin to Fallujah. So when Vince gave us a tour of his neighborhood in Long Beach, he didn’t want to just show off spots where people got killed (though he did show us that) but also places that had warm memories.
Our day starts off at his grandmother’s house, which is technically in Compton, as he recalls how his grandfather strived to own his own property. Afterwards, we head to a house he family lived in before it was taken away but still had fun times in. We also visited the spot where one of his homeboys was recently killed, as Vince recalls how his life became more dramatic in the summer of 2006 which is why his upcoming debut album is titled, Summertime ’06. We hit Ramona Park with his crew where Vince remembered the good times playing baseball but also spoke on the lack of opportunity in his community. And finally, we hit up producer Chuck Wun’s house, the spot where Vince’s music career began as he reflected on why he doesn’t want to just up and leave his neighborhood.