If you haven’t heard by now, Vince Staples considers the ’90s to be an “overrated era” and he’s managed to draw the ire of a lot of people who cherish memories created way back then. In an interview with Time, the 22-year-old shared his eyebrow-raising opinion, saying “The ’90s get a lot of credit but I really don’t know why…There’s not a 50 Cent in the ’90s, they didn’t even have a Kanye.” He also highlighted that he’s never heard albums by the Spice Girls and NSYNC.
“Whatever you were watching or listening to when you were young is always going to be your favorite thing because it made you what you are today,” Staples said. “That’s always going to be something that you appreciate the most, so that’s everyone’s favorite era.”
Trolling? Maybe, but anyone who follows Vince on social media is aware that he’s very calculated and knows how to press people’s buttons. For better or worse, his assessment is one probably shared by people in his age group. Staples was born in 1993, which means he only experienced six years of what the ’90s were. There’s little chance that gritty raps by Black Moon, Public Enemy, or any of rap’s golden era staples fit into his life of sippin’ Juicy Juice out of small boxes and chasing girls on the playground at recess.
In fact, he calls Bow Wow one of his favorite rappers, which should give anyone over the age of 28 an idea of where Vince’s head was at then and now. Currently, “Mr. 106 and Park” is more often the butt of punchlines instead of spitting them in his rhymes. But to Vince, Bow mattered more to his adolescent tastes and probably stands as one of the first artists whose songs Vince memorized, the same way Bow Wow idolized Snoop.
My dad loves Jackie Wilson and watching old Western flicks. When we’re in the room together and either of those two things starts playing, I slowly slide out of the way so I won’t be subjected to him telling me how much soul Jackie had or how badass John Wayne was. It’s not hard to hear and understand artists like Wilson, Otis Redding and James Brown hold a permanent top ranking for my pops. They sang and danced in ways that today’s performers can’t hold a candle to. John Wayne’s character was a noble gunslinger who kicked ass, cleaned up tumbleweed towns and bagged chicks from whatever saloon he entered.
But Wilson doesn’t hold a candle to Jagged Edge, Aaron Hall, or Ginuwine in my mind because – guess what? – those are singers who hold a spot on my mental mantle. Will Smith and Martin as Bad Boys would easily take ol’ black and white John Wayne and his dusty revolver, too.
Right now, people of the ages of 25 to 45 are the ones in the editorial chairs calling the shots in daily media coverage. They’re the assholes subjecting all of us to these romanticized lists about stuff that was great from days gone by. In a few years, they’ll all begin to leave their workstations, cutting the light off for the last time. They’ll ultimately be replaced by people Vince’s age who will begin to churn out content that says “The early 2000s are where it’s at,” just like Staples mentioned*. And they’ll be right because the 2000s mean a whole lot more to them. But, when they do take over, you better believe I’ll be ready and waiting to tell them that the 2000s were overrated, too.
* — If the ’90s are overrated, I’m going to need all these youngbloods to fall back off Jordans and retros. Those are OUR memories. Go create your own nostalgia.