If there’s any doubt that Vince Staples is the future of SoCal hip-hop, just look at his fans. While Kendrick is obviously the present, the sheer number of Staples’ diehards under the age of 20 is proof enough that the rapper’s underage following is perhaps only matched by his brethren in Odd Future.
Between his fans not being old enough to grow decent facial hair yet and the number of big-name features Staples has already seen, it seems like only a matter of time before he’s played every hour on Top 40 radio.
When Long Beach’s favorite son performed at the Observatory in Santa Ana on Friday night, it was more than just a concert. The show was also the homecoming stop of his “Circa ‘06” tour, and it’d been lovingly nicknamed “Vincemas” by many.
As Staples pointed out during the energetic show, it wasn’t the first time the young rapper had played the Observatory. He’d previously opened for other acts and played “the baby room” (Constellation Room), but this was his first time headlining the big stage.
Opening with “Lift Me Up,” Staples immediately had the attention of the crowd. After explaining that he was going to be doing a lot of tracks from Summertime ‘06 (his debut studio album released in June), the response to “Y’all ready to have a good motherfucking time tonight?” was near-deafening.
“65 Hunnid” and “Fire” off of last year’s Hell Can Wait EP seemed to go a little over the young crowd’s head, but it was clear they knew this year’s album when Staples asked “Who the fuck heard Summertime ‘06?” before launching into “Birds & Bees” and “Dopeman.” The tracks off the new album continued with “Hang N’ Bang” and “C.N.B.” (which happen to appear on the record consecutively) before monologue breaks occurred on both sides of “Get Paid.”
The humorous and honest Staples mentioned that he feels like “the new Chris Brown” because of how much the ladies like him. “I don’t even take my shirt off though. I’m saving that for five years down the line.” The 22-year-old then declared that no one could beat him in NBA 2K16 and that he hasn’t “lost in 2K in like two years” before declaring “Fuck Spike Lee” to laughter and breaking into “3230.”
After explaining that he wants “them educated girls with jobs” rather than broke-ass hoes (and that he needs a girl who can fight in case his ex tries to fight her), the artist performed “Loca.” With no hype man (other than his DJ), no featured artists, and about as bare of a production as possible — he wore a white t-shirt and jeans the whole time — Staples allowed his energy, flow, and lyrical talent to shine all on their own.
“Nate” from last year’s Shyne Coldchain II took place right before Staples took a break to discuss his hatred of cops (“If you hate the police, say ‘Fuck the police!’”). Then, “Hands Up” preceded another anti-police rant, which was far funnier than the first. “I’m asthmatic,” Staples said. “I don’t like running. I’m allergic to dogs. They’re always coming after me. I hate their haircuts. I hate their movies.”
With his cop-bashing done for the night, “Street Punks” was next up. The rapper then asked everyone to put their phones up in the air, but there was a humorous catch once again. “We only doing iPhones,” Staples said. “If you got a Droid, throw it on the ground. If you got a Windows phone, kill yourself.”
Once every Apple client had their phone out, Staples slowed things down a bit for “Surf” before continuing on with “Jump Off the Roof.”
At that point, it was nearing 11:15 and Staples still hadn’t played his three biggest hits. The up-and-coming performer proved exactly how rabid his fan base was, as the young crowd lost their minds for “Norf Norf” and “Senorita” before Staples briefly left the stage. Just moments into a “Blue Suede” chant, the rapper not only returned for the song, but climbed out into the crowd to perform the second half of it.
Lift Me Up
Birds & Bees
Hang N’ Bang
Jump Off the Roof