Vince Staples – Self-Titled, Album Review

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For years, I’ve grown tired of Vince’s music. When his debut dropped, Vince Staples became an instant wave. As time went on, however, I enjoyed his albums less and less. It’s not that he doesn’t exude confidence as an artist. I just don’t hear much passion when he’s on the mic. Yet not every person in the world animates themselves for the entertainment of others. Vince owes me nothing. Honestly, though, my first run through this album left me disappointed. The singles that preceded it perform well. “LAW OF AVERAGES” sounds like something Drake would rap over. Moody, earworm pitched vocals lay an introspective foundation for Vince to flex his organic swagger. Primary producer Kenny Beats lends his signature bounce bass and sampling savvy. Every song here he produced. Not a bad choice on Vince’s part.

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Credit: Zamar Velez

While I appreciate Kenny Beats’ position in the game, his instrumentals have a tendency to overlap. And that’s okay. As much as he works, they can’t all be game-changing hitters. His low-key production choices across Vince Staples match the artist’s general vibe exceptionally. Vince never sounds too worried in terms of his tone. Nevertheless, his lyrics are a different story. He spits about a past that haunts him and a lifestyle that beckons him in every direction. In spite of these truths he tells, he’s found a transcendent balance between the set life and the celeb life. I’ll never know the magnitude of Vince Staples’ origin. So I don’t want to downplay what he’s been through. It took me more listens than I wanted, but I’ve gained an appreciation for this record. At first, his lax delivery and brief offering bored me.

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Credit: Zamar Velez

Though I do love elements of this record. It’s a rather relaxing experience start to finish. The lone guest, Fousheé, breathes life into the tracklist. Her debut time machine released last month. Be sure to check that out. She sounds amazing on “TAKE ME HOME.” Conversely, this album would’ve benefitted from one rap feature as well. The first two tracks establish a promising sonic direction. Yet, in my opinion, the tracks that follow fail to leave a lasting impact. Vince struggles writing dynamic hooks and bridges. Verse for verse his skills align with the best in his generation. Attention to detail separates the good from the great nonetheless. This album didn’t quite satisfy what the pre-release singles implied to me. This comes off like another album cycle of Vince going through the motions despite its cohesive container.

 

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Album Review: Vince Staples - Self-Titled
Production
7.2
Songwriting
5.9
Substance
7.7
PROS
Change of Pace
Pensive Lyricism
Low-Key Aesthetic
CONS
Lack of Centerpiece
Fleeting Runtime
Sonic Overlap
6.9
POSITIVE