Rising to fame alongside his West Coast compatriots, Odd Future, Vince Staples has been quietly becoming a major player in hip-hop and, in my opinion, surpassing his stylistic kinsmen.
While Tyler struggled to make a tightly focused LP and Earl was still forming his sound, Staples dropped ‘Summertime ’06’ – a project that belongs in any conversation for the best hip-hop album of 2015. The production was immaculate with a heady mixture of No I.D., DJ Dahi and Clams Casino behind the boards, the soundscapes were evocative and had a distinctive West Coast bounce. Staples took full advantage of the star-studded production cast provided by Def Jam, elucidating his Long Beach tales with sincerity and an occasional shrug of the shoulders.
More recently, Staples dropped the ‘Prima Donna’ EP, a stop-start mindfuck of a project that packs a punch equal measures social and sonic. Tracks like ‘Loco’ and ‘War Ready’ find Staples coming out swinging over minimal and urgent soundscapes, setting a precedent for politically charged club tracks.
It seems fitting, then, that Vince’s first track of 2017 follows the same blueprint; ‘BagBak’ takes no prisoners. Spitting with his trademark lazy eloquence, Staples calls it how he sees it: ‘Prison system broken / Racial war commotion / Until the president get that / Shit, Vincent won’t be votin’’.
Hopefully, we’ll get to hear more of Staples’ fiery social commentary in the near future, but until then – ‘BagBak’ will hold us over.