When considering his scene-stealing verses on Earl Sweatshirt's Doris LP, it's no shocker that Vince Staples' just released mixtape, Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, is drenched with cleverly worded gangland tales and the street pathos of his native Long Beach.
What's surprising, though, is that the Def Jam signee was able to get famed producer No I.D. to provide the bulk of the beats on the a 10-track feast. The Godfather of Chicago hip-hop doesn't just work with anyone, but for the rap newcomer, it wasn't all that challenging.
"Working with No I.D. is kinda easy," Staples told MTV News backstage at Def Jam's 30th Anniversary showcase at SXSW. "We didn't really go too much into it. He just asked me if I wanted some beats and we got a lot of 'em so we got a lot of songs together. It's a lot more to come as far as that goes.
"It's easy to work with somebody that's been in the game as long as he has," he continued. "They know what they doing, they know how to adjust to certain situations, know how to give you what you need to take that step forward. So it's great working with No I.D."
Today's rap releases have become breeding grounds for guest spots by other big-name rappers, so the fact that Staples opted to eschew the trend and only feature two singers — James Fauntleroy and Jhené Aiko — on his mixtape was yet another welcome break from the norm.
"I picked Jhené and James to be on the mixtape as features simply because I rap, so I don't need nobody else to do what I'ma do," Staples said. "I need another element to the music 'cause all music has to grow, so I felt like that was the next step in growth that I really needed. So I asked them to help out and they did it willingly."
Standout tracks on the mixtape include the Scoop DeVille-produced "Nate," anchored by Fauntleroy's syrupy vocals, and "Humble," which features the hubris-soaked line, "Homey I ain't humble, I deserve this sh--/ I'm from the side of the curb where the birds get flipped."