Vince Staples Gets Lifted From His Surroundings Without Ever Leaving Them (Video)
In recent months, Long Beach, California MC Vince Staples was at the helm of a discussion about generational perspective in Hip-Hop. In October, he made a statement which seemed to suggest that the ’00s were the greatest years in Rap music, prompting artists and fans representing previous eras to voice their disagreements. Much of the ensuing rhetoric swirled around the notion of ’90s nostalgia, for many the apex of Hip-Hop’s creative output, but as younger generations of artists like Staples and others enter the game, the Golden Era becomes less of a time remembered and more of a conceptual part of history that, while certainly inspiring, is not the earliest memory they have of the music. That being said, the 22-year-old continues to win over Heads in the wake of the release of his debut album which, whether intentionally or otherwise, flirts with the line separating the music of different worlds.
Summertime ’06 – an ambitious double album – dropped in June and exists in the space between two perspectives. Featuring guest appearances from contemporary artists like Jhené Aiko, British singer-songwriter Daley, and vocalist Kilo Kish, an overwhelming majority of the LP’s production is handled by veteran producer No I.D. whose work with legends like Common, Kanye West, and Jay Z make him a child of a much earlier era. Nevertheless, he and Staples synced musically, and though many may see hypocrisy when comparing Staples’ October statement to the fact that his album is predominantly produced by an engineer of much of the ’90s sound, their musical partnership is evidence of a meeting in the middle. Somewhere between full-blown nostalgia and tomorrow’s musical trends lies “Lift Me Up,” and that in-betweenness is on display in the song’s video. Shot in a Long Beach neighborhood, it places Staples in a lead role of a young man whose earthbound existence is in constant battle with an invisible force pulling him from the terrestrial towards the celestial. The weight of life serves as both a tool of inspiration but also a call for the “elsewhere,” and most of us will find ourselves in the middle; not quite ready to leave, but certainly always looking for somewhere else. And, more often than not, we find that the escape we’re looking for is not as far away as we may imagine.