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Vince Staples

He loves his Clippers, his Snap, his Chucks — and explains why, at the end of the day, it’s all about a buffet

Don’t expect Vince Staples to celebrate too much when his new project Prima Donna is released digitally on Friday. The rapper, who hails from North Long Beach, California, doesn’t drink alcohol. He doesn’t do drugs. So after the six-track Prima Donna drops — along with 5,000 limited-edition vinyls and an accompanying self-titled short film conceived by Staples and directed by award-winning director and Kanye West photographer Nabil Elderkin — expect him to simply “go out and get like a hamburger or some s—” before getting back to work.

Prima Donna is Staples’ first project since his acclaimed double-disc debut Summertime ’06 from last summer. Staples admitted he’s grown up a bit since then, and said his music has evolved as a result. His pockets have grown, too — catch him cruising the California streets in his new Mercedes-Benz, but at the same time giving back to young people in North Long Beach. Staples is an avid supporter of the Los Angeles Clippers and as he awaits next season, he talks Snapchat over everything, Kevin Durant joining the Warriors, Uniqlo socks — and his relationship with Frank Ocean.

Apple or Android?

I have an iPhone. I’m invested in Apple. I don’t know why. I’ve never had an Android. I’ve held one before. It’s just so confusing. I don’t think I’m ready for that level of technology.

What’s your primary social tribe? Snapchat? Twitter? Instagram?

I use Snapchat (snap: poppystreet) for the most part. I don’t really use anything else. I get on Instagram but I don’t check it. I go on design-milk.com. That’s my s—. I have a group text with my friends. That’s where I learn all my day-to-day news.

What’s your favorite sport?

Basketball. The thing I love most about sports is the fact that it can make you treat people very badly and it’s OK. Every sports fan … they’re horrible.

[Durant] is more Scottie Pippen than Michael Jordan, you know what I mean? And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing.

Your favorite NBA team?

The Los Angeles Clippers, for a long time. My mom used to get free tickets when we were kids because they weren’t as thriving as they are now. I’ve had a very rough past — I don’t know what it’s like to win a championship.

Who is the face of the NBA right now?

LeBron James and Steph Curry, but you kind of have to go with LeBron.

What do you think about Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors?

I feel him. No disrespect, but I never saw Kevin Durant as really a superstar. I didn’t see him as, ‘Oh, he’s great! He’s one of the greatest players in the NBA.’ I just didn’t see him being … a leader of a team. I don’t feel he was abrasive enough to make that happen. Of course, Tim Duncan wasn’t abrasive. We don’t know if he was abrasive or not because he looks like a robot. But Gregg Popovich isn’t necessarily the nicest guy … there’s a certain grit I see in players. [Durant] is more Scottie Pippen than Michael Jordan, you know what I mean? And I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. He’s a great scorer, but there’s nothing wrong with him being like, ‘I can’t do this by myself. I am not the No. 1 guy. I’m the No. 2 guy, the No. 3 guy.’ Whatever he wants to be.

What’s your current fashion obsession?

Uniqlo socks. Uniqlo socks are crazy right now. I have a lot of socks. They’re just so cheap, so I just spend $150 on socks and I have socks for the next three months, which is crazy. I wear the same s— every day for the most part. I have like 10 pairs of the same jeans. I have 10 pairs of the jean next to it, a shade lighter or darker. But I’m not a fly guy. I look like a farmer at times.

If you could wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would that pair be?

Converse CT ’70s. The black ones because you can go anywhere. You can dress up … dress down. You can be anywhere. You can go to Thunder Road, you can go to Malibu. You can go anywhere.

Is there an app you’ve been using a lot lately?

I use Mercedes-Benz Mbrace for my car. I lost my car for like an hour yesterday, so I need it. It’s like GPS on your car so you can get directions to your car, and walk to it.

What’s the first concert you ever went to?

It was Diana Ross with my mom. It was crazy. I think it’s the only concert I’ve ever been to that I didn’t play at. It was recently, too. I was over 18.

People always want to get me high and drunk for reasons I’ll never understand. It makes completely no sense to me.

Do you have a favorite rapper of all time?

Not of all time. [But] I would probably say Kanye West, Lauryn Hill, Missy Elliott and Andre 3000. Those are pretty much my favorites.

Last stamp on your passport?

Dominican Republic.

What was your favorite video game growing up?

I liked Medal of Honor a lot. That used to make me cry. I had every system. My mom loved me. She made sure I had all the video games to keep me out of trouble. It didn’t really work, but she tried her best. She’s a sweetheart. I love that lady.

What will you always be a champion of?

Sobriety. Sobriety is very important and a lot of people don’t talk about it openly. I’ve never drank in my life. When I tell people, they think I’m lying. I’ve over, over and over said that I don’t do drugs. People offer me weed every day. My sobriety means a lot. People always want to get me high and drunk for reasons I’ll never understand. It makes completely no sense to me.

People consider you to be a very socially conscious rapper.

I don’t know if I’m socially conscious. I don’t watch the news. I don’t follow politics. I don’t follow any of that stuff. It’s kind of weird, but, yeah. I’m just very aware of the importance of certain things.

What’s your reaction to the events that happened this summer in Louisiana and Minnesota?

As far as people getting killed by the cops? It happens all the time. I’m happy a lot of people are kind of in uproars about it, though. Because we need to value everyone’s life equally, and there’s a lot of people who don’t see it that way.

People getting killed by the cops? It happens all the time.

How do you describe your relationship with your hometown of North Long Beach, California?

It’s a place. With people. It’s my home. I only go over there unless I have something positive to support, and to give back to the community. I don’t need to be going around, hanging out. I’m here to work. This is my job. My friends tell me all the time, ‘Your job is not to hang out … Your job is to work and try to better your circumstances and therefore give opportunities to others from where we come from.’ So I go home when I have a youth program. I go home when I have … something I feel I should share with my home. I feel like I have a good opportunity and I’m focused on working to better the area I come from. It’s a great place.

What’s the biggest difference between Summertime ’06 Vince Staples and Prima Donna Vince Staples?

Just growing up. As time goes on, you see different things in the world and you just have a different outlook on things … and of course your music should change. A lot times, especially in rap, we’re kind of discouraged to be ourselves in a sense … a lot of people just stick to the same thing. I credit musicians [who] molded their music to who they were at the time … That’s definitely something important for me. I want to grow with it. It’s not necessarily about being the best at all times. Music, it’s not supposed to be good or great or anything, it’s just supposed to be you. You as an artist, your ups and downs. Your path is what kind of makes you who you are.

What’s your relationship like with Frank Ocean?

That’s my friend. I see him, ask him how he’s doing and we talk about life. I feel like more people should treat him like a human being and not like a robot … It’s just weird.

What else should we expect from Vince Staples this year in terms of music?

I’m trying to open up a buffet. I just thought about it right now. That’s my next idea. So look out for my buffet I’m opening. I’ll still do songs and shows, that’s a given, but I’m really trying to open this buffet. Like a five-star buffet. No name for it yet, but it’s going to end with buffet.

This interview was edited for clarity and length.

Aaron Dodson is an associate editor at The Undefeated. Often mistaken for Aaron Dobson, formerly of the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals, he was one letter away from being an NFL wide receiver.