Is Vince Staples a Crip? Did He Really Go to Jail?

Netflix’s sitcom ‘The Vince Staples Show’ opens a brief window into the troubles Vince Staples, an acclaimed rapper, has with the cops. In the first episode of the series, he gets arrested for speeding, only to end up in jail for a while. As the episode progresses, the musician gets forced to deal with a couple of his cellmates. His arrest is inspired by a real event that happened in Vince’s life. The rapper had a tumultuous past and the cops were a constant presence in it. Even though he turned his life around with music, he hasn’t been hesitant to discuss his upbringing!

Days as a Crip

Vince Staples was a member of the Crips, an alliance of street gangs based in the coastal regions of Southern California, mainly Los Angeles. “I come from gang culture,” Vince revealed to The Guardian. As a teenager, he believed in violence. “I started gangbanging because I wanted to kill people. I wanted to hurt people. There’s no reason: it’s a bloodthirst. The same reason people join the army: because they want to kill. A lion doesn’t make an excuse to kill anybody, he does it because he wants to. […] I definitely gave a shit about my life. I just didn’t give a fuck about nobody else,” he added.

Vince grew up in Long Beach, California, where the “gang culture” was an inevitable part of life. “If you live in Long Beach, gang members are going to be your friends regardless. You don’t get ‘sucked into’ being an American, for example, you live there! Gangs are just part of southern Californian culture, they’ve been there since the late 1800s; the gang culture sets up the schooling, the little-league sports,” he said in the same The Guardian interview. The rapper hasn’t revealed what sort of crimes he had committed as a gangbanger. However, his actions were severe enough for him to move to Orange County from Long Beach.

“I will live in Long Beach [again], but right now I’ve done too much stuff. People don’t forget when you’ve done things to hurt them,” Vince said in 2015. The rapper then moved back to Long Beach. According to Vince, the absence of his father, who was imprisoned for a considerable while, was a reason why he became a gangbanger. “He’s the reason I don’t do drugs or drink and I never will. He’s the reason why I think all this gang s**t is played out,” he told ‘The Breakfast Club’ in 2017 about his father.

Vince eventually escaped from his life as a Crip with the help of music. “Coming from where I come from and what I was doing prior to music, and what a lot of my family and friends are subjected to, I can only be grateful [for music],” he told The Independent.

Vince’s Arrest

Vince’s arrest in the first episode of the series is inspired by a real occurrence. Even though he hasn’t revealed why he was arrested, he did reveal that he had an encounter with the cops. “That [the arrest] has happened before, so I’m not worried about it as much as I was the first time. It was just weird. There are a lot of experiences in the show that are derivative of actual life. Life is crazy, man,” the rapper told Vulture.

In 2019, Vince shared that he was no longer on probation. “We finally off probation and on the way to getting the whole shabang expunged let the record reflect I’m finna be jetsetting R.I.P. Anthony Courdain!” he shared at the time, referencing Anthony Bourdain and his traveling culinary series ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.’ What the rapper did to end up on probation is unknown. “I ain’t been this excited since my dad put rims on the Maxima right after we beat the Mission Viejo Cowboys. Stay out the system Black people! Thank you’s to Meek Mill my Mama and the Crips for the motivation to escape,” he added, this time referencing Meek Mill, an advocate of probation reform.

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