Somewhere in America last year, a woman took to YouTube to complain about a song that she’d heard on the radio while dropping her daughter off at school. Tears in her eyes and strain in her voice, the self-identified Christian mother of three recited the lyrics from Vince Staples’s “Norf Norf,” pronouncing every profanity, sobbing at the Long Beach rapper’s mentions of sex and crime and running away from the cops. She was horrified. “I couldn’t even believe the words I was listening to,” she said into the camera. “As a mom, it infuriated me.”
Online media gleefully snarked on the video, writing about the woman’s “melt-down” as a piece of comedy. “That dang ol’ rap music is corrupting our children!” summarized XXL, while Funny or Die picked apart the logical inconsistencies and offensive bits of what she’d said. Her words were even remixed with the “Norf Norf” beat, racking up tens of thousands of listens.
But Staples himself had a radically sympathetic response. In interviews and on Twitter, he chided the folks who were making fun of the woman.
“It’s pathetic to attack someone for having an opinion or feeling some type of way, for wanting her children to not be exposed to something,” Staples told NPR. “‘Cause I’m 100 percent sure my mother would have loved for her children to not be exposed to gang life. The difference is it wasn’t on the radio—it was in our house, and it was outside, and it was at our schools, and it was at our churches, it was everywhere that we were.”