Vince Staples and How Fans Can Be the Absolute Worst
The internet has given birth to many different direct channels to speak to artists, Twitter being one of the dominant – and most toxic – avenues. With all of these mediums available to people, music fans have become much more vocal about their opinions on an artist’s sound. Now, before I go into this, everybody has a right to express their opinions in any way they want. Anybody who knows me knows I’m very opinionated when it comes to music. However, there is a point where people far overstep their boundaries as fans – or stans – and become a problem. The point where fans believe that they are managers and A&Rs for every artist they tweet at and try to keep the artist in the fan’s comfort zone.
Def Jam told me to be more “active on social media” so I hope this what they was talking about. I love y’all.— Vince Staples (@vincestaples) March 12, 2018
Vince Staples’ most recent escapades have been a prime example of this fact. Now, this is not the first time Vince has been the subject of overbearing fans. My favorite instance is when the rapper was starting to garner critical acclaim after his Summertime ‘06 and Prima Donna efforts and earned himself an endorsement deal with Sprite. You would think fans would be happy that the artist that THEY SUPPORT was gaining in fame and fortune. Nope! You were repeatedly seeing the replies of “sellout” and “industry puppet” stacking up in the comments on Vince’s ads. The rapper replied with very tongue-in-cheek responses to many of these comments with #WannaSprite attached to them (which possibly got him more product promotion checks). The same was seen when Chance the Rapper became more mainstream and started doing Kit Kat ads, to which Chance humorously stated that the worst part about having a hipster fan base is that they leave when you start to make it.
Vince Staples is back in the news after coming off the “Flower Boy” tour with Tyler, The Creator. People who may or may not have been familiar with Vince flocked to social media to complain about the rapper’s sound and performance, saying it was like he was “rapping over video game robot beats”. Vince didn’t shy away from this, making a video and campaign titled “#GTFOMD” (as well as later dropping a dope song with the same title), which basically told people that they should pay him to stop rapping or let him do what he wants to do.
Some would argue that this only alienates his fan base, and that argument does have some validity. Personally, I think he should be applauded for this. Artists should be free to experiment however they want to with their direction in terms of their sound or career. Just because you have a handle with 72 followers doesn’t make you a manager. Vince didn’t pay you for your recommendation. What’s more is that everybody complains about how all rap sounds the same, and then when Vince steps up with something different, people immediately complain because it’s “too different”. What makes artists so great and stand out is when they step outside of the box, and deliver with it. Young Thug was able to do it with country without a problem, and I appreciate Thugger fans for supporting his experimentation. I see no reason why many other rap fans can’t do the same thing. You can feel any type of way about a song or album, but you – as just a fan – have no business playing creative director just because a song doesn’t vibe with you. Vince makes his money doing his thing. Let him do it until he feels it won’t provide for him. Fans keep trying to make artists’ careers solely about them, and it can sap the fun away from making music. Nobody, not even me, has the right to steal somebody’s joy.
P.S. If you care, the campaign reached $2,022, which Staples matched in a donation to the Michelle Obama Library.