For some time the 90’s has been regarded as the golden era of Hip Hop. Seen as a right of passage before you can even call yourself a Hip Hop fan. A never ending list of albums are laid out as a homework assignment. Vince Staples didn’t hand in this assignment. We should all be forever grateful he didn’t. Otherwise we wouldn’t have been been treated to one of the best albums of the year and a live show that has left London still shaking.
Opening up for Vince was the ever rising Kojey Radical. Kojey himself has also had an incredible year which was replicated in a live show that certainly left a mark on everyone in attendance. Blending elements of spoken word with a live band, Kojey demanded your attention. Performances of ‘Bambu’ and ‘Open Hand’ were hauntingly powerful. Kojey won’t compromise for anyone, a bold voice that refuses to be silenced. With one of the most stark and confident voices in the scene right now, Kojey Radical is certainly a name we will all come to remember.
As Kojey left the stage, the crowd all huddled together, itching for the arrival of Vince Staples. After a period of silence the monotonous waves and ominous seagulls of Long Beach began to drift in, cut short by the blistering ‘Lift me Up’ as Vince exploded onto stage. As the crowd screamed back the lyrics “I just want to live it up, can a motherfucker breathe? Life ain’t always what it seems, so please just lift me up”, it was clear Vince’s story has hit home. Never one to shy away from his true opinion, it didn’t take long for him to touch on his recent comments. It seemed the whole Hip-Hop world went up in flames after he said he wasn’t in love with 90’s. Always witty, as Vince struggled with the long leaded mic he had the perfect response.
We not used to these 1992 Hip-Hop mics
This comedic approach continued throughout the show, bouncing off his DJ, the set worked as half stand-up and half performance, expressing complex ideas in brutal fashion. Charming yet daring Vince always had the crowd on their toes. For every hard hitting track he had a quick witted reply to anyone questioning his current place in the Hip Hop landscape. Moving from the unyielding “Hang N’ Bang’ he commented on the sold out crowd, “They underestimated the power of Sprite.” He continued to run through the hits off Summertime 06, with a murky rendition of ‘Dopeman’ and took a journey back through catalog performing ‘Nate’ and ‘Fire’. At only 22 years old Vince is as self aware and wise as anyone working in Hip Hop today, and he has a discography to prove it.
‘Summertime 06’ is an accomplished, intricate and painfully honest piece of work, and Vince was able to perfectly replicate this to stage. One to always have cool head on shoulders, as he was reaching the end of his set it was clear he had a bit of steam to blow off. Ending with a shattering double bill of ‘Blue Suede’ and ‘Señorita’, Vince Staples is ready to take action. Throughout the performance his gaze always seemed to lye beyond the crowd, always looking into the future, able to see something we all can’t. Vince Staples doesn’t demand your respect, he couldn’t care in the slightest. Always one step ahead of everyone, Vince knows we need him to move us forward.