By Suzie Hicks:
Hip Hop artist Vince Staples nonchalantly blew the crowd away at day three of Boston Calling. Staples (22) is from Long Beach California, and is the third counterpart in another rap group called Cutthroat Boyz. Despite his criminal involvement at a young age, Staples states that he has never ingested alcohol or recreational drugs in his life, and does not plan to because of a history of substance abuse in his family.
Staples has released four mixtapes, and one album entitled “Summertime “06”. He has also appeared in the major motion picture “Dope” produced by Forest Whitaker.
Today, Staples one-upped even true Bostonians as he walked on stage wearing sneakers, jeans and a “Straight Edge” sweatshirt to his own concert. His outfit seemed too relevant to the underlying theme of his performance—a casual, fun interaction between artist and audience. There were no elaborate backup dancers, no costumes, and lighting that did not distract from his lyrics. On stage, it was just Staples, his hype man, a few microphones and a synthesizer. This debatably minimalist approach would have been a deterrent for an artist with less charisma and personality, but it was anything but a hindrance to Staples.
He commanded the empty stage, and the lack of any gimmicks allowed a genuine dialogue to occur between him and his fans.
During his songs, he was either casually leaning up against his mic stand as if his intricate rhymes and words were a conversation with a friend, or hyping up the crowd from every angle of the stage. At the end of his set, he actually left the stage and hopped the barrier to finish his last song in the crowd.
In between songs, he was almost as entertaining with his conversations as he was with his verses. He engaged the crowd by telling them anecdotes about his life, commenting on the Boston colleges (and, I quote, saying “[Expletive] Yeah Emerson!”), and getting the entire audience to scream “We love you Batman!” to a sleeping three year old back stage. He also gave a short speech about his decision to reject alcohol and recreational drugs in his life. His performance ended on a high note, having thoroughly entertained the concertgoers and probably himself.