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Vince Staples Continues Exploring Both Sonically And Emotionally

Written by on July 13, 2021

On his new self-titled record, Vince Staples is unapologetically himself — asking listeners “ARE YOU WITH THAT?” from the album’s outset.

Released on July 9th, Vince Staples’s latest, self-titled album narrates a self-reflective world punctuated by blunt lyricism and his signature smooth vocals. Although considerably less sonically adventurous than 2018’s FM!, Vince Staples takes strides with its introspective narration and charted as the top record on Spotify’s Top 10 Global Album Debuts the weekend of its release.

Mastered entirely by Kenny Beats, electronic producer of YouTube fame, Vince Staples‘ instrumental tracks are what set it apart from Staples’ past releases; the beats are soulful and laid-back, while still utilizing Kenny Beats’ trademark 808 samples. Longtime friends, Staples and Kenny Beats have an undeniable chemistry both in and out of the studio. Pitchfork describes the duo as remarkably adaptable, “two unstoppable forces who would rather work together than fight each other.”

Accompanied by a disorienting music video, Staples distances himself from his surroundings and longs for solidarity in the album’s debut single “LAW OF AVERAGES.” Feeling used and neglected by those around him, Staples raps, “I don’t want no friends with no open hands … Everyone that I’ve ever known asked me for a loan.”

A prominent motif throughout the album is a critique of societally-projected images of success. On lo-fi track “THE SHINING,” Staples expresses distaste with the stark reality that lurks beneath fame and the appearance of fortune.

“It’s not what you thought / We dying broke or live with broken hearts.”

In “TAKE ME HOME,” Staples touches on the glorification of drugs in alcohol found prominently in rap — an issue he has spoken on in the past — with the lyrics:

“Swallowing my pride, like them pills y’all be on / I hate when you high but you hate feeling lost.”

With each new album, Vince Staples takes steps in new sonic directions but remains firmly on the same path toward self-awareness, allowing him to consistently evolve while staying rooted in the same ideals. The album’s eponymous title is fitting — it is an honest glimpse deeper into the artist’s innermost thoughts.

Follow Vince Staples on Twitter and Instagram, and stream his new self-titled album below.

Written by Erik Anderson

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