Vince Staples’ New Netflix Show Blurs The Line Between Reality & Surrealism

The five-part series has Kenya Barris serving as executive producer.

Beyond being considered one of the most consistently great emcees in contemporary hip hop, Vince Staples has spent several years honing his skills in television and film. There were various shorts like Episode 01: So What, television appearances on the Emmy-winning series “Abbot Elementary,” and feature films going as far back as Rick Famuyiwa.”

“I’m going to be honest, I didn’t even appreciate it or think about Dope at that moment because it was such a small thing and it was an independent film at the time,” said Staples. “I think just recently I’ve learned a lot from “White Men Can’t Jump” and being on “Abbot Elementary.” We just filmed a pilot for The Wood for Showtime with Rick. Learning from people like Quinta Brunson, Calmatic, Kenya Barris, and others with so much knowledge helps. If I have a question, I could ask them and they would be willing to help.”

Fans of the emcee that gave the world classic debut Summertime ‘06 and, most recently, “Ramona Park Broke My Heart” now get to witness the next artistic evolution of the multi-hyphenated creative. 

For Staples, having his own Netflix series titled “The Vince Staples Show” has been a long time coming. Pitching for the series began around 2015/2016 and his lack of mainstream star power prevented executives from giving him a TV show. According to Staples, he went out and did more work. “I did a lot of voiceover stuff, just getting more credits, a lot of auditions and just learning more about TV,” explained Staples. 

Following various meetings, he would link up with Black-ish creator Kenya Barris alongside writers Ian Edelman (How To Make It In America) and Maurice Williams (“Entergalactic”), among others, who he describes as a “godsend.” Beyond giving Staples advice for the show, they gave him full freedom.

“They left it in my hands to do whatever I wanted to do and then told me what works and doesn’t work on television,” said Staples. “I just made sure that I found a medium between what I wanted to do and what worked for the medium itself.” 

The Vince Staples show features five loosely connected episodes with the lead playing a fictionalized version of himself in various scenarios. They all feature Staples’ signature deadpan hood humor blended with surrealist touches. 

The opening episode revolves around him being stuck in a holding cell after a traffic stop. Holding officers constantly reminding him of fan favorite “Norf Norf,” a cellmate looking to use the opportunity to start a singing career, and another prisoner looking to re-start some old street feud add to the humor of Staples just trying to make it back home. 

Interestingly enough, his Def Jam debut Summertime ‘06 featuring that single with the classic line “I ain’t never ran from nothing but the police” alongside “Señorita ” and “Get Paid” turns ten next year, which is something he’s been too busy even to notice the anniversary; even within the context of the debut episode to his first ever television series. 

“I don’t even really think about it because time goes so fast but you just become appreciative because a lot of people don’t get a lot of shots like this,” said Staples. “It just makes you grateful to still be able to create, still be able to progress and make new things. That was a very, very different time in my life, a different set of circumstances. So I'm just grateful that we were able to get out of that and get into a better situation.”

Another episode even looks into the difficulties Black people have getting business loans, even for high-profile celebrities, before some wise wisdom from Rick Ross and a bank heist. One of the later episodes pays homage to various Quentin Tarantino films like “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill.” According to Staples, he was inspired by Tarantino and the Cohen Brothers and Swedish filmmaker Roy Andersson. This new creative venture for Staples has everything he’s digested content-wise over his lifetime. 

“I try to make sure that everything that I create kind of has signs of the things that were important to me as I was a kid,” Staples said. “Things that I felt were interesting. Even something as simple as “The Simpsons” kind of directly inferred our story structure or editing style. I would like to say probably everything that we've seen, especially me, has kind of inferred how I view the world or how I view creativity.”

“The Vince Staples” show is an accumulation of every angle of the Long Beach native. It’s fun, high art, traumatic, silly, weird, slightly dramatic, and everything else about the human experience. 

“We’re still able to create and be true to who we are and the environment that we came from,” explained Staples. “I’m just grateful man because it has been a long ride and very, very interesting one to say the least.”

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking Subscribe, you confirm that you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. You also agree to receive marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers) and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. You understand that you can unsubscribe at any time.