Vince Staples: Big Fish Theory review – dazzling flow makes grim truths glitter

(Virgin EMI Records)

He’s funny, acerbic and his flow unspools as easily as liquid mercury but perhaps not enough credit has been given to just how weird Long Beach rapper Vince Staples can be. Staples’s second album nods to wonky rave, fractured electronica and bass that sounds like it’s ricocheting around a crater, as if he’s opened the zip named “Vince Staples” and picked out the weirdest instrumentals in there (by names like the Edward Scissorhands of beats, SOPHIE, electro-funker Jimmy Edgar and, er, Bon Iver). It would be easy to cry “hipster bait” – Kendrick Lamar, Damon Albarn and A$AP Rocky also feature – but it makes for a challenging, dystopian listen, the blade runner to everyone else’s replicant. Party People is a topsy-turvy banger about death and destruction; the Lamar-starring Yeah Right clatters with industrial menace; BagBak channels the bleakness more directly with its lyric: “Tell the government to suck a dick because we own ya.” Staples might not own everyone quite yet but Big Fish Theory suggests he’s well on the way.


Kate Hutchinson

The GuardianTramp

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