Vince Staples – Big Fish Theory review

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