|Album Review: Vince Staples — Vince Staples|
Vince Staples LP
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New York City
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Vince Staples, the gap-toothed veteran rapper out of Long Beach, is back in a way that is focused and refreshing with his fourth studio album, Vince Staples. His new effort is one of his more personal bodies of work as he follows up his 2018 album, FM! In ten tracks, the self-titled album draws up his innermost self as he learns to deal with his past and progresses into a better future.
The production is very much aligned with Staples' signature signature style. Executively produced by Kenny Beats, the pair worked together to make a mellow sound on the project filled with strong bass lines and booming 808 drums. Nothing on the album is awkwardly placed, inconsistent in sound, or off center when you listen to the album's tempo as a whole. The first release showing off Vince Staples is the track "LAW OF AVERAGES," accompanied with a vivid music video.
Throughout the album, he raps about personal lessons learned while growing up in North Long Beach, California. On "SUNDOWN TOWN," he kicks some game he picked up from the gang-affiliated life. There's tons more of that on the project on tracks like "LIL FADE" and "LAKEWOOD MALL," an interlude where he tells a story about avoiding poor decisions out of just being bored. By detailing a level violence he may have had to maintain on "MHM", he effortlessly glides on the beat hitting a bouncy rhythm.
There's even an interlude that we hear from Vince's mother on "THE APPLE & THE TREE," where she details a lesson learned about controlling her anger. She tells it in a way that may make you laugh, but comes with a sentiment of realness and wisdom. You can see through her storytelling where Staples gets his sense of humor and street sensibility from, hence the cut's title. His mother's contribution gives more reasons as to why this album might be one of his more personal albums to date. Likely, it's also why the record is self-titled.
Staples has a wide range of slick moves and a smooth ability to hold onto a catchy pocket in each beat he selects. One of the standouts features a rising artist from New Jersey, Fousheé, called “TAKE ME HOME.” He calmly hits on things done in the streets that cause paranoia and wondering who he can trust.
The second release from the project, "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" consists of strong trap 808s and a new direction for Vince as he melodically raps his verses. The album actually opens with "ARE YOU WITH THAT?" in the tracklist to set the tone for a different kind of Vince Staples album, showing he's going to expand his skillset.
The rapping on this album is intentional and well-rounded. With only ten songs on the self-titled project, one would think that there isn't enough room to make any statements, however, Staples concisely rips each track with his writing. No bar is wasted, whatsoever. It seems as if he wanted to prove that he is indeed one of the best MCs out right now. In an interview with DJ Hed and Home Grown Radio, he says himself that he sees himself as one of the best rappers ever.
Staples is unafraid, more now than he has ever been. With his album releasing in a summer alongside dozens of other major acts at not only the label where he's signed, Motown Records, but in the entire industry period ,he's not ducking the competition.
With tons of music under his belt and a Netflix show in the works, Staples is gearing up for a career year. The comedic West Coast character is part of a generation of artists who are really making waves outside of their music and spreading their brand across mediums with endorsements & collaborations with companies like Sprite and Converse.
Vince Staples is just the start of Vince’s packed 2021. Soon enough, his dramedy, The Vince Staples Show will be brought to Netflix, he'll also be taking his personality to two new podcasts and a graphic novel with Z2 comics. Before you know it, there'll also be another full-length album released in 2022 entitled, Ramona Park Broke My Heart.
So, this album marks the beginning of a consistent output of Vince Staples, "one of the best rappers ever."