COURTESY OF NETFLIX
Long Beach rapper Vince Staples first started teasing a TV series back in September 2022, when he announced he was partnering with Kenya Barris and How to Make It In America creator Ian Edelman for a scripted Netflix series “loosely inspired” by his life. Since then, details have been scarce, but the curtain is finally beginning to rise today, with a new trailer and a release date set for next month.
Fans of Staples know that the rapper's pivot to writing and acting has been a long time coming. He’s always been a character, showcasing wry charm and a bone-dry sense of humor and comedic timing often during his interviews. His penchant for storytelling is evident in his music; “When Sparks Fly” wasn’t just one of the very best songs of 2023, it’s a new entry in the pantheon of narrative rap all-timers.
But Staples has been formally testing the Hollywood waters for a while now. He played a memorable boneheaded goon in Dope a few years back; most recently he was seen flexing his comedic chops as Quinta Brunson’s love interest—and thus, Tyler James Williams’ romantic rival—on Abbott Elementary. “I’m new to a lot of this stuff and he was able to translate it to certain things that I didn’t realize aligned with each other,” Staples told GQ about working alongside Williams. “Explaining how to connect your character to your real life. Learning what to separate and what to keep. All those things come from experience.” The lessons paid off: please enjoy the way Staples wrings laughs out of Brunson’s Janine not knowing proper Telfar bag etiquette. (“Put the caps on those pens, girl!”)
The series trailer showcases the underlying core tension of the [fictional] Vince’s life: a mundanity and banality you wouldn’t expect from your average successful rapper, mixed with surrealist misadventures and the side effects of very real lingering street ties that threaten to give his days more action than he bargained for. If you want an idea on what to expect, look no further than the two shorts Staples and director Calmatic (who joins Staples, Barris and Edelman as a collaborator on the Netflix series) released a few years ago, where everyday occurrences like an urgent haircut or an apocalyptically mad girlfriend get jazzed up by run-ins with a couple of Bloods and Ray J, respectively.
The Vince Staples Show premieres on Netflix on February 15.
Originally Appeared on GQ