“Are You With That?” By Vince Staples
The titular question (“Are You With That?”), when most commonly used, is another way of asking someone if they are down to make a certain move. But said query doesn’t really hold any relevance as far as the featured narrative goes. Rather upon first glance, it can be interpreted like ‘do you really understand?’
And what Vince is recounting, most simply put, is his earlier days in the ‘hood, having grown up on the merciless streets of California. And that is the main impression that we get from the first verse, that he grew up in a kill-or-be-killed type of environment. As such in his youth, as is pretty standard in the ghetto, his main aspiration was to be a gangsta.
In the second verse, Staples lets it be known that he is actually affiliated with the Crips and has been since a child. And also he uses the passage to apparently address an associate who once betrayed the gang. And it is because of such untrustworthy individuals, i.e. “snakes”, that Vince knows that in the street “you can never be too safe”.
Main Sentiment of “Are You With That?”
And with that in mind, it appears that the underlying sentiment of this entire piece centers on the vocalist recognizing his own mortality. Vince isn’t coming off like some type of bulletproof rapper. He understands very well, as most pointedly illustrated in the outro, that if someone gets the drop on him, it would likely mean meeting his fate.
And likewise he is imparting such hard-learned wisdom onto the addressee, to stay ‘watching your back’.
So by the end of it all, our understanding of the titular question has now changed. And rather it comes off more like Staples is saying ‘do you feel me?’
When was “Are You With That?” released?
On 6 July 2021, this became the second single issued from Vince Staples’s self-titled album, which is his fourth studio full-length. The project is backed by Motown alongside Blacksmith Records, the latter being a company co-founded by Talib Kweli. And this is also the first track on the playlist of Vince Staples.
With his discography dating back to 2012, Vince Staples talent was formally recognized as early as 2015 when he was placed in XXL Freshman’s Class of said year. It was also in 2015 that his debut studio album, Summertime ’06, was released.
His highest charting album on the Billboard 200 thus far was the studio LP that came after that, 2017’s Big Fish Theory, which broke the top 20 of said list. And his most-notable single thus far is a collaboration he participated on in 2016 entitled Smoke & Retribution.
“Are You With That?”
The director of this track’s music video is one Jack Begret.
The producers of this track, Kenny Beats and Reske, also get songwriting credit alongside Vince Staples.
Vince Staples is 28 years old at the time this track came out.