You know, it’s been a while since we heard a project from Vince Staples, and he has been making some interesting movies in the past few years from having his own Adult Swim show Lazor Wulf (an excellent absurd show!) to appearing in movies like MFKZ (also excellent) and even switched labels from Def Jam to Motown. Now we have his 3rd studio album Vince Staples… yes, this is a self-titled album, and it’s not the only one coming up soon as he’s got another album titled Ramona Park Broke My Heart whose release date is unknown at the moment.
Like FM!, this is another 22-minute project with production primarily from Kenny Beats, and like prior albums, the content of this one focuses a lot on where Vince came from, his hardships, and friends that are no longer with him, escaping the gang life but going further into that.
That’s blatant in the first track and 2nd single, “Are You With That?” and then comes the 2nd track and 1st single released, “Law of Averages” focusing on how since he got famous, people he knew have been bugging him for money.
Everyone that I’ve ever known asked me for a loan
Leave me ‘lone, .44 Stallone, get a nigga gone
Raging Bull, this not Paid in Full but I kill my own
Yes, I love you ’cause you black but don’t love your ass like that
I will put you on a shirt if you fuck me out my racks
Paranoia and PTSD also play into the lyrics here with “Sundown Town,” as the track is named after a town where after dark, black people are more likely to be killed, and he expresses those feelings of knowing when something is going to pop.
Lost too many friends, to the down the streets, I can’t pretend
That I’ll make amends, I know that the blood gon’ spill again
Hangin’ on them corners, same as hangin’ from a ceiling fan
When I see my fans, I’m too paranoid to shake they hands
Other themes are touched on here like on “The Apple and The Tree” where Vince’s mother lies on the stand to defend his father, even though he probably did whatever he did. It’s more about showing loyalty to your family and crew much like Vince did, hence the saying ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’. There’s also “Take Me Home” where he goes about on how he lives a straight edge life (he doesn’t smoke or drink) and how whenever he spots violence happening around him when he drives, he puts on some music with a gun on the passenger seat to drown it out, with the hook from Fousheé aka the lone feature here, going like:
Production-wise, Kenny Beats made some of his standard best beats for Vince, fitting well with the moody vibe given of the subject matter he spits on here. There’s one beat that’s a low-key slapper with “Lil Fade,” and the way he spits on here goes well on this production.
Lil’ fade (Yeah), trippin’ get ya whip sprayed (Uh-huh)
Choppa where my bitch stay
Shoot shit (Yeah), pocket full of blue strips (Blue strips)
Blow it and I’m still paid (Dead homies, yeah)
Act out (Yeah), lucky if you packed out
Really what I rap ’bout (Let’s go)
All-in-all, Vince Staples delivers another solid album. I know this is pretty short and all, and I wouldn’t mind a few more tracks to make it like an even 30 minutes, but let’s not forget that it’s good to have a short and compact album that hits you with few listens rather than a long and bloated album about nothing, and Vince did the former while still killing it in that front.
FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. Short and sweet the 2nd time and still nails it.
VINCE STAPLES (the album) is on Blacksmith Recordings/Motown Records and available on digital download and streaming services.