Vince Staples gets more vulnerable and explicit
Vulnerability is slowly becoming more acceptable within the hip-hop/rap industry. While being open about life experience has been present since the genre’s debut, it’s the raw emotions and feelings that come about because of the experience that is becoming accepted. Now more than ever, people see artists of this genre spew lines of heartbreak, mental health, their difficult life situations, etc. and how it has shaped them. Vince Staples has been one of these artists since his debut. His pain gets masked with humorous lines immediately after as well as a fun and entertaining persona on social media. With his latest release, Vince Staples (produced solely by Kenny Beats), people see the North Long Beach rapper continue to be vulnerable but in a more explicit and serious manner.
The opening track, “ARE YOU WITH THAT?,” is bouncy and lively against words reminiscing on how the bloodshed in his city affected his childhood. “LAW OF AVERAGES” is a reminder to everyone that Staples is about his business and he’s no longer willing to deal with people. Two examples of this are: “Fuck a friend, I don’t want no friends with no open hands” and “Everyone that I’ve ever known asked me for a loan/ Leave me ‘lone, .44 Stallone, get a nigga gone.”
“SUNDOWN TOWN” is the most explicit he has ever gotten. The layers of pitched-up vocals, synths and 808 add weight to Staples’ stories of childhood trauma, involvement in streets and fear of those who adore him. A haunting lyric from the song coming in the form of his fear of fans trying to kill him when he meets them, “When I see my fans I’m too paranoid to shake they hands/ Clutching on the blam, don’t know if you foe or if you fam.”
“TAKE ME HOME” features Fousheé and reflects how despite the success Staples has accumulated, the thoughts and trauma of what home was still finds its way back around. Fousheé takes hold of the chorus, allowing her words and notes to float over the beat. “LIL FADE” is a little more vulgar with more detailed lines about his hometown. “MHM” finishes off the project. It is more towards the hype side of Staples, but the intense description of scenarios remains.
Some may say this is Staples’ way of maturing and becoming more serious. However, it really is a way to be express his emotions about his life in a more explicit manner. Staples has always been the funny guy, the one to hide his trauma with puns and out-of-pocket statements. Yet, Vince Staples is a reminder that sometimes one doesn’t need to hide their emotions. Vulnerability helps fuel amazing projects, and this self-titled album is a perfect example of that.