Pre4k 2017: Vince Staples

by Kara Kokinos

Pre4k 2017: Vince Staples

Set Time: Catch Vince Staples at 4pm on Friday, performing on the Green Stage

Intro Tracks: War Ready, SAMO, Jump Off The Roof

Why You Should Be There: Vince Staples has been rap’s latest manic pixie dream boy, and his latest release, Big Fish Theory, is a giant middle finger to that idea. Staples is not rap’s hallow means to survival and growth – he is cold blooded, calculated, and coming for rap itself.

It’s difficult to find fault with anything that Staples delivers to his feverish audience. His new album sounds like it has been given to us to act as a bridge between the current state of more mainstream rap and a new wave of sonic approach–something slicker, but with driving aggression that does not let up at any moment during the 12 tracks. This excellence sometimes means that people consume his material without regard for or understanding of what Staples is creating.

A divide is visible within his audience – with those supporting an artist committed to presenting an evolution of “the same old thing”, and those there for the experience of being swept up by the current tide of conscious rap. It’s no secret that pop culture is consuming so much of the musical and cultural space it once dismissed, emulating without the full understanding that comes with lived experience. But don’t worry– Staples has no time for culture vultures and won’t pretend to.

While he keeps his life and motivations under a veil of misdirection – with only illusions to the changing values that come with growth and progress of the self – it’s clear that Staples’ narrative will also be his legacy. This is a man who fights impulse. He references suicidal ideation and samples an Amy Winehouse ode to self-destruction, but is able to construct something that will undoubtedly shape his genre as well as his own path. Staples is self interest embodied – not a reluctant hero or self sacrificing aide – and that’s why we love him.

Listen to Big Fish Theory here: