Vince Staples: Vince Staples
When Hermanito suggests music to me, it's almost always a brilliant idea. Especially when he suggests hip hop.
Vince Staples is a name I've heard for years, of course. But it wasn't until my brother spoke in glowing terms about the rapper's self-titled EP that I took the time to actually sit down and find out what all the fuss was about.
What an experience it was.
First things first. The music on this album is...scary. But not in the way Pharoahe Monch and th1rt3en's release this year is scary. Not horrific or psychologically intimidating. It's scary in the way looking in the mirror for an extended period of time in broad daylight is scary. The way telling someone exactly what's on your mind in that moment is scary. It pierces through the barriers we are conditioned from childhood to build to keep strangers out. The walls we encase our emotions in to avoid having to confront them.
Vince Staples is simple, poignant, raw. Honest. That's what Staples' self-titled release really is. It's about honesty. The album bearing his name was no fleeting decision on his part. It's why all you see on the cover is his face, head-on, eyes open, no smile. Raw and honest and open.
From wall-to-wall the self-deprecation, self-evaluation. It burns a hole through you if you're not paying attention. The music, then, must match the veritas in the words. Must be as bare-naked as Staples is in each bar. Both lyricist and production succeed in creating an aural experience that lingers like a familiar smell that triggers a memory. Which memory that scent accesses depends on your mood.