TIME Music

Meet the Rapper Who Thinks the ’90s Were Totally Overrated

"The '90s get a lot of credit—I don't really know why," says rapper Vince Staples

The ’90s were the best, right? Many people—especially the internet generation—would be inclined to agree. But amidst the constant ’90s nostalgia spurred by Buzzfeed listicles and weekly reimaginings of your favorite Disney characters, there are a few that aren’t as impressed by the decade.

Enter Vince Staples, a Long Beach rapper and a leader of a new class of talented provocateurs; his understanding of nostalgia is a little more practical. “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,” he tells TIME. “That’s always going to be something that you appreciate the most, so that’s everyone’s favorite era.”

Staples, who is currently on tour with fellow artist A$AP Rocky, doesn’t have a favorite era himself, but says he’s drawn to the early ’00s—which, according to his philosophy on nostalgia, makes sense, since that’s when he came of age. In fact, his debut album, Summertime ’06, is an ode to the time and place in which he grew up.

Watch his take on the ’90s, pretending to be “hip-hop” and why some artists can’t stay relevant.

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