Vince Staples wants to help out the youth of North Long Beach, California

When rapper Vince Staples came out in 2015 and said the ’90s were totally overrated from a rap sense, it angered quite a few people. Old heads freaked out, calling on the usual “you don’t know nothing about this” logic, while many other proud millennials were all basically like, “Hmmm … he might be right.”

That convo aside, it was the first time some had heard of the Long Beach, California, native, who was born in 1993. Now, the Norf Norf star who has openly said he doesn’t like rapping with other people, and openly dislikes Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul even though he’s a Clippers fan is giving back to his hood.

He’s backed an initiative with the YMCA that launched this week to support 20 high school kids in programs that feature tracks for learning filmmaking, music production, graphic and production design and 3-D production. The announcement was made Tuesday in Ramona Park, the Def Jam artist’s native neighborhood, alongside Long Beach Councilman Rex Richardson.

“I think the most important thing is opportunities. What I can say is, living over here my entire life, I’ve never had an opportunity given to me from the area, only examples of how to mess up, and what I didn’t want to do,” Staples told the Long Beach Press-Telegram. “I want to be able to be one of the people that reinforces the fact that we matter just as much as the next person. That’s actually the biggest thing I can do for this community.”

While the program itself is a dozen years old, this expansion is specific to North Long Beach. According to its website, the “youth are chosen based on the risk factors they face which might influence high school completion. The factors may include neighborhood violence, poverty, family conflict/poor family management, poor academic performance or lack of commitment to school, and involvement with antisocial peers. Youth are selected to ensure ethnic and gender diversity. Of the 900 youth helped to date, 39 percent were Latino, 22 percent were African American, 19 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 11 percent were European American, 7 percent were of mixed ethnicity and <1 percent were Native American. About half (51 percent) were male.”

Say what you want about his thoughts on the ’90s, there’s no denying that this is a tangibly tremendous effort to give kids something to do and a space to do it. Even the most generous rappers from the ’90s aren’t exactly doing that in droves and never were.

Plus, his new song with Clams Casino is flames.

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