“I feel like a lot of the time we get this voyeurism,” Staples shared.
“Ah man, it must be so hard,’ or, ‘I can’t imagine growing up where you grew up, experiencing what you did.’ People look at us like we’re entertainment and not people. That’s how we look at rap music. That’s how we look at Black people.”
The 28-year-old continued, expressing his dissatisfaction with hip-hop music being consumed only as entertainment on a surface level.
“There’s perpetual violence,” the rapper expressed.
“Our people constantly die. Meanwhile, we’re entertaining beefs and people’s misfortunes … We engage in trauma porn for people obsessed with poverty and violence who don’t know it, don’t digest it, or really care about it. The truth is, someone can like my music, but if I did one of these things that are talked about in music for survival I would be shunned by the world. We just don’t care about people like me and where I come from – we just pretend to.”
On the new album, the Compton musician uses the voices of witnesses and victims on tracks who experienced violence which was taken from news reports and DVDs.
“All of these skits are from a long time ago,” Staples says.
“The samples were recorded in the 70s, 80s, and early 90s. “They’re to show how circumstances and situations don’t really change as much as we like to pretend they do. Mostly they were interviewed and put on the news so people could ask: ‘Why are you the way you are? Nobody was asking why their circumstances are the way they are. As people listen to my songs, they might not understand that what I’m talking about is real life. It’s not entertainment. These voices matter. Them being heard might change how you hear my output.”
You can listen to the album, which is out now on all streaming platforms.