It is difficult to pinpoint the exact style of Vince Staples, but that is the absolute beauty of his art. With each release that Staples blesses us with, he is carving out his very own unique space in the wonderful world of rap – and this can be seen in the release of his sophomore album, Big Fish Theory.
This album looks at how “rappers are perceived and how they perceive themselves,” as Staples explains in a recent interview. This project does not shy away from commenting on political and societal issues, as well as the pros and cons of rap culture. Staples proves that he is clever not only in his lyrical ability, but also in his technical flow.
Big Fish Theory has a very futuristic feel, and this can be felt from the very start of the project with ‘Crabs in a Bucket’. Staples has commented on this sound himself, calling it “Afrofuturism” and this is reflected throughout the entire project. His entrancing flow matches perfectly with the project’s production. Big Fish Theory is almost a perfect amalgamation of slowed-down techno, electronic funk and classic G‑funk. A favourite moment on this project is ‘Alyssa Interlude’, where Staples uses an excerpt from a 2006 Amy Winehouse interview to set the tone for some of the themes explored in the project, as well as to pay tribute to the late, great artist who passed way too soon.
In not much more than 30 minutes, Staples manages to provoke thought through his commentary on societal issues, such as class and entitlement, all whilst making you want to turn up at a house party in Oakland, California. Whether we choose to call Big Fish Theory Afrofuturism or not, one thing is for sure: this album is absolutely flippin’ fantastic.
Big Fish Theory is out now on Blacksmith/Artium/Def Jam/Virgin EMI Records.
If you like this artist, check out: GoldLink; Domo Genesis
Image: Blacksmith/Artium/Def Jam/Virgin EMI