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Vince Staples on stage in Tahoe
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 31: Vince Staples performs during the SnowGlobe Music Festival 2019 at Bijou Park on December 31, 2019 in South Lake Tahoe, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

First Listen: Vince Staples – “Vince Staples” 

Vince Staples New Self-Titled Album – “Vince Staples” has arrived.

Vince Staples sixth studio album, and first full-length project since 2018 is a 22-minute self-titled album displaying a much mellower sound than Staples is known for. The album Vince Staples is a quintessential Vince Staples album, like previous projects there are few features, a short run time, and a noticeable Long Beach influence.

Vince Staples Features + Production 

This entire project was produced by Kenny Beats, a rising star in hip-hop production who carried out similar collaborations with Denzel Curry and Rico Nasty. Kenny Beats was also responsible for producing the majority of Staples last album FM!, which featured a much harder sound than Vince Staples. In a 2019 episode of Kenny Beats’ YouTube show, The Cave, Vince Staples recorded a freestyle accusing Kenny Beats of being a police officer which has snowballed into an ongoing online joke. 

Similar to Kenny Beats’ aforementioned collaboration with Denzel Curry titled “Unlocked,” this album features samples of conversations, monologues, and songs that have been distorted. The resemblance between the two projects is uncanny when you compare the LAKEWOOD MALL outro on Vince Staples and the Track 01 intro to Denzel Curry’s Unlocked.  

Compared to Staples’ previous albums, Vince Staples has a far less cluttered sound. Vince Staples’ delivery on this new album is much more relaxed than anything we’ve heard from him up to this point. 

The only credited feature on Vince Staples is former The Voice participant, and Harlem based vocalist Fousheé. To some, Fousheé may not be a household name – but Tik Tok launched her song deep end into the Stratosphere amassing more than 350 million streams on Spotify between the original and the remix. Fousheé sings the hook and outro on TAKE ME HOME, which is a song about the struggles of relationships, both platonic and romantic. 

Tracks and Visuals

These songs are short, sweet and to the point. Vince Staples explained to LA Leakers in an interview that musically he’s moving away from traditional song structure:

“There’s a lot of things you have in your head, a 16, a bridge, then I was like… ‘what’s a bridge for Vince Staples’ and I was like ‘why am I doing this?’”

This record consists of eight songs and two skits / interludes. None of the eight songs repeat their chorus more than twice. LAW OF AVERAGES was the first single released for public consumption in mid-June along with a cinematically styled music video. LAW OF AVERAGES is not a traditional single, but then again nothing Vince Staples does is traditional. The music video features beautiful shots of Long Beach and it’s citizens plastered with forced “Joker-esque” smiles across their faces. Overall it’s a song about distrust and discontent towards others.

The second music video from this project is for ARE YOU WITH THAT?, the opening track to the album. It’s a song about Vince Staples overcoming his past – “Whenever I miss those days,

Visit my Crips that lay.” The music video for ARE YOU WITH THAT? is masterfully shot, resembling the styling of Jordan Peele.

Vince Staples is an extremely concise and consistent album. It’s clear why these songs were packaged together, the record flows seamlessly which almost makes it difficult to tell the songs apart. LIL FADE stands out as the most distinct song on the project, it’s more reminiscent of the early Norf Norf Vince Staples that listeners may be more accustomed to. 

If I had one critique of this album, it would be that there are no standout hits. However Vince Staples is not an artist that relies on hits or radio play, Vince Staples will be a beloved success for Vince Staples fans – but likely won’t help bolster his profile any further. That criticism aside, Vince Staples is an impressive piece of art – thematically and sonically it stays on message.

This album feels like a turning point for the already accomplished Staples, it shows a willingness to grow and share more of his personal life. Staples has put North Long Beach on the map; between his constant references to Long Beach cross streets, local landmarks, and the introduction to regional slang.  

Stay tuned for more First Listen articles, as we analyze the hottest new hip-hop.

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