The house lights turned off and a countdown timer was displayed on the LED backdrop and set the crowd in a roar. When the clock hit 00:00:00, Vince casually strolled onto the stage, wearing black head to toe, along with a bulletproof vest. He pauses and stares at the crowd while a storm of fog filled the stage. He opened with the upbeat “BagBak” from his latest album, “Big Fish Theory”. I could tell this was a venue of dedicated fans by the way the whole place started to rap and dance along.

The production Vince brought was impressive. An entire wall of 4×4 LED’s lights that spun and rotated behind him displaying blinding white and purple visuals. The entire front of the stage was lined with strobes that also rotated and shot light straight up to the ceiling. It created a very heavy ominous atmosphere. The combination of fog and strobes in my light of sight made it a very tough shoot – but Vince was here for the fans and not a photoshoot.

Recently, Vince has been getting negative feedback on his performance for lack of production and showmanship. Vince, being the outspoken rapper that he is, decided to shut the haters down for good and started a GoFundMe campaign for early retirement. He called the campaign #GTFOMD (google it) and for a messily two million dollars, Vince will shut up forever. Which means no music, no shows, no interviews, no anything. He will also move to Palmdale, Calif., buy a Honda, purchase a puppy and buy a year-supply of “soups for the homies locked down.”

Despite what some fans are saying, this was one of my favorite hip-hop shows this year so far. Vince Staples has a unique way of bringing energy to a show without having to bounce off the walls like most rap shows today.


Ismael Valenzuela

St. Louis based photographer and writer.