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Rap - Released June 23, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
With his 2014 powerful and greasy seven-song Hell Can Wait EP of exclusively live from the street dark hip hop, Vince Staples showed from the get-go that he was to be counted on as a future star by perfectly narrating the daily lives of outlaws. Eight months later, his first album Summertime '06 confirmed this first impression and was considered as one of the best rap albums of 2015. The following summer, Staples took it one step further with his Prima Donna EP made up of seven new ultra-dark snapshots of his City of Angels (but not only…), in which his flow and lyrics shine at every turn. Most importantly, this EP showed that the rapper knew how to reinvent himself, to the extent of collaborating with British artist James Blake on two titles… In the last few years, gangsta-rap California and its derivatives have provided a wonderfully renewed cast (from Kendrick Lamar to Schoolboy Q, YG or even DJ Mustard, the stylistic range is particularly broad), even though the main ingredients remain the same (dope, guns, sex, alcohol and unemployment). In his own distinctive way, Vince Staples reinterprets all of these rehashed conventions and gives them a unique modern feel. The street may remain the same, but its actors know how to reinvent themselves. With Big Fish Theory, which splashes down on Summer 2017, the MC from Long Beach gives us anything but a Summertime ‘06 rehash. It’s rather a natural extension or even an evolution of Prima Donna. This second album, with out-of-this-world sounds, sails through fully assumed electro seas. Minimalist sounds, sometimes edging towards Detroit’s original techno. Supported by very unique tinkers (Zack Sekoff, SOPHIE, Jimmy Edgar, GTA and even Flume!), Vince Staples and his unique story telling dive into the meanders of unprecedented sound architecture. In Alyssa Interlude, he throws in an interview of Amy Winehouse, his idol, with a sample of the Temptations’ I Wish It Would Rain. Further on, Damon Albarn lays his voice on Love Can Be… and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon lends his lyrics to Crabs In A Bucket. Big Fish Theory is filled with these more or less unexpected moments. In Homage for instance, Staples goes full on into clubbing. Obviously, the album features other prestigious albeit less surprising guests: A$AP Rocky in SAMO, Ray J, Ty Dolla Sign, Kučka, Juicy J in Big Fish, Kilo Kish, and of course the inevitable Kendrick Lamar in Yeah Right. This album leaves you stunned of an orgy of ideas that Staples was somewhat able to channel and give order to. In this regard, Big Fish Theory isn’t a child’s toy, but rather the brilliant manifest of an artist who cares little about genre conventions and makes his own rules. © MZ/Qobuz
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Rap - Released June 30, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

Hi-Res Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
£11.99

Rap - Released June 30, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Rap - Released September 23, 2014 | Def Jam Recordings

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Rap - Released June 23, 2017 | Virgin EMI

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Rap - Released June 23, 2017 | Virgin EMI

For the third consecutive year, Long Beach rapper Vince Staples issued a standout effort that continued to push creative boundaries while deepening his lyrical prowess. Big Fish Theory followed 2016's excellent Prima Donna EP. Continuing along the path of that set's "Big Time," Theory is a skittish thought piece wrapped around the nucleus of the Chicago footwork sound. Like a collision between the creative energies of DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, and even the brightness of mainstream house from the likes of Disclosure, Theory finds Staples taking steps away from the ominous anxiety of the Clams Casino/Flying Lotus drone of his breakthrough Summertime '06 (produced primarily by No I.D. and DJ Dahi), without sacrificing any intensity or heft. Here, Staples assembled a studio team comprised of L.A. beat music producer Zack Sekoff, electronic duos GTA and Christian Rich, Detroit glitch artist Jimmy Edgar, SOPHIE, Flume, and more. The guest list is equally impressive. Longtime collaborator and tourmate Kilo Kish joins Bon Iver on the standout "Crabs in a Bucket," while Juicy J joins Staples on the most traditionally big bass rap burst of the title track. A pair of collaborative team efforts boasts the highest-profile names on Theory, but one sticks the landing better than the other. "Love Can Be…" features Damon Albarn, Kish, and Gorilla Zoe on the GTA-produced track that pops and jitters without ever evolving. Meanwhile, "Yeah Right" is a potent double-team effort that recruits Kendrick Lamar on a booming echo chamber of a number courtesy of SOPHIE and Flume. The latter half of the album is equally unrelenting. "Homage" rides an anxiety-ridden, Radiohead-esque landscape with the help of Kish and Rick Ross, while the twisted "Samo" returns SOPHIE to the fold with A$AP Rocky. "Party People" is a propulsive standout, but it's lead single "BagBak" that remains king on Theory. A "Humble"-sized beast that condenses Prima Donna's ethos into a single song, "BagBak" is a lyrically dense powerhouse that aims a fist directly at the intolerant and troubled state of America in 2017. On an album of thrilling highlights, it's worth the price of admission alone. Big Fish Theory cements Staples' status as one of the most talented and forward-thinking voices in rap in the late 2010s. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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Rap - Released June 23, 2017 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap - Released September 16, 2016 | Virgin EMI

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Rap - Released August 25, 2016 | Def Jam Recordings

The second EP from Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, Prima Donna is a concise and intense ride that follows his 2015 breakout album, Summertime '06. Featuring appearances from A$AP Rocky and Kilo Kish, Prima Donna combines Staples' uncomfortably honest inner ruminations with wider social issues relevant to being a black man in America. As he declares on the second track, reality is so dire, one has to be "War Ready." Immediately following on "Smile," he repeats "sometimes I feel like giving up," the psychological toll of life pushing him to the point of "sometimes I wanna kill myself." It's a sobering slice of vulnerability from the young rapper. He jumps from helpless to hopeful -- often within the same song -- but remains hungry throughout. With production by DJ Dahi, John Hill, No I.D., and James Blake (on the OutKast-sampling "War Ready"), Prima Donna is an essential snapshot of 2016 that bears witness to the evolution of an artist coming into his own with an unflinching, socially conscious perspective. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
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Rap - Released June 30, 2015 | Virgin EMI

Blowing the promise of his Hell Can Wait EP into an extraordinary double LP, Summertime '06 finds rapper Vince Staples with all the pieces in place. His delivery is still sneering and steady with a slight sway that suggests he's stoned, but like pop gangstas Chief Keef or Future, he can craft a memorable melody out of chopped-up nonsense. Check the infectious "Senorita" for proof, but also check the brilliant "Lift Me Up" for Staples as the elevated rap writer, offering an uncompromising gangsta stance that's both classic ("They follow me while shoppin") and pushing the envelope (Staples tears down a list of fashion labels that don't respect their urban audience). Cali references abound and still the music, most of it from producers No ID and Clams Casino, makes it seem as if the rapper lives in the shadows, not just because it is dark, but also because it is equally attractive and mysterious. Even with the revered duo in fine form, it's producer DJ Dahi who takes first prize, as "Birds & Bees" sounds like a paranoid funk breakdown, thick and brittle enough to accompany lyrics like "I'm a gangsta like my daddy/My mommy called me 'her problem' when she had me/They found another dead body in the alley." Splitting this weighty and rich effort into digestible chunks, the album's physical release comes on two separate discs, making Summertime '06 an artistic triumph wrapped in conceptually fitting package. ~ David Jeffries
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Rap - Released June 30, 2015 | Virgin EMI

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Rap - Released June 23, 2015 | Virgin EMI

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Rap - Released June 23, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap - Released June 16, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings

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Rap - Released June 16, 2015 | Def Jam Recordings