Vince Staples might be the “sober rapper,” but that’s not a label he’s consciously thinking about when diving into his next musical endeavor. GQ caught up with a nine artists — including Staples — to inspect how sobriety has impacted their creativity.
“It’s not something that I honestly ever think about. I just never wanted to,” the Long Beach native says of being tempted to drink or experiment with drugs. “I’m not the kind of person that will do something that I don’t want to do. They don’t expect this from a young black musician my age from where I come from.”
Staples then got candid in his explanation, saying that his decision was really a result of what he was being exposed to in his childhood environment. “The drug usage was the last thing on my mind. When you’re surrounded with death and dismay and poverty and all these things that happen every day, I didn’t have time to worry about using or partaking in certain things,” the FM! artist said.
“People where I come from don’t use drugs in a recreational sense. We’re not at a party, or at the rock show, or at the rap show, doing lines in the bathroom,” he added. “Where I come from, life comes day after day after day, and people use these things to cope.”
Even though the 25-year-old witnessed his father struggling with addiction issues of his own, he doesn’t believe that’s what ultimately led him to living a sober life. “I never had time to think about whether my father’s addiction issues led to me not doing drugs, because I was too busy trying to cope with the reality of people dying and people trying to kill me every day,” Staples said. “That was really where my focus was.”
The Big Fish Theory rapper continued to detail the specifics of having to worry about the dangers of just staying alive on a day-to-day basis growing up. “When you have to think about your next 15 minutes — you have to think about the walk to the store, you have to think about how you’re getting to school, you have to think about the bus ride home, you have to think about how you’re going to sneak a gun into the football game — the last thing I was thinking about was getting high,” he concluded with brutal honesty.
Read the entire piece on GQ.
— GQ Magazine (@GQMagazine) January 15, 2019