I was late to the Vince Staples hype train, my first time he really caught my attention was on James Blake’s song “Timeless”. His verse, flow, delivery were all highly unique and that piqued my curiosity. That led me to one of my favorite albums in maybe the past 5 years, Summertime ’06. You can count me as fully on board the hype train now and I’ve been anxious to hear what’s next ever since. Prima Donna EP is Vince’s latest offering, as he builds up to what I presume is his next major album.
Woke up feeling like the walls caved in
Fought to the death, never gave in
Write that on the grave that I get laid in
Heaven, Hell, free or jail, same shit
County jail bus, slave ship, same shit
A wise man once said that a black man better off dead
So I’m, war ready
The thing I admire in Vince’s music is that he’s fearless, in both production and songwriting, he’s not afraid to go places most rappers wouldn’t dare go. Right off the back, Prima Donna makes it apparent that this isn’t like anything else out there and not even like his debut. The production is experimental to say the least. Summertime ’06 had it’s own elements of experimentation and abstractness, but this kicks things up to a whole other level. “Smile” is heavily rock infused, “War Ready” is stripped down and minimalist, and “Big Time” (my favorite song on Prima Donna) is frenetic as hell. Prima Donna is high concept and stands on it’s own from anything else he’s done and anything anybody else is doing. While, the concepts don’t always gel together perfectly, I highly appreciate his fearlessness in trying.
I come from the game where they pay to play
These rappers extorted like everyday
That Yankee I’m sporting like every day
Just played me a show they paid 80k
I put it away for a rainy day
You never know when you gon catch a case
You never know when you gon catch an opp
We kill ever day like where Sosa stay
One thing that hasn’t changed is Vince’s lyricism. He still paints vivid pictures of life in Long Beach and the gangster lifestyle, and delivers it with his signature matter of factness. “War Ready” is minimalist, and allows Vince to lay down heavy bars about struggling with the pressures of his surroundings and being war ready at all times. The serious lyrics are in stark contrast to his monotone delivery, as if he’s saying “it is what it is”. While, “Big Time” is pure braggadocio, as Vince spits about girls, money, and the gangster lifestyle, all along to the frenetic pace of the beat. His lyricism and reality raps are on full display on Prima Donna. He’s supremely confident in his craft and it shows. It’s exciting to see what’s to come next.
Have you heard Prima Donna EP? What did you think about it? Did you appreciate the experimentation in production? What did you think about the lyrics? Let me know in the comments below and leave a rating for the EP.