‘Well it’s one for the money, two for the show…’ – Elvis Presley
You may have already heard of Vince Staples, you may have not. Either way, Vince already has certain established figures in the music industry interested, though to many he may not yet be a recognisable face.Having ties with a number of influential artists such as the likes of Common, Mac Miller and Odd Future, and having become a recent signee to Def Jam Records, Vince is an artist that if you haven’t already, should probably train your eyes and ears on, whilst checking out his back catalogue too because he’s already got some good shit out.
He has recently released the first single from his upcoming album Hell Can Wait (which drops in September), titled Blue Suede. Here’s what we reckon:
The visuals accompanying Blue Suede provide an interesting and telling insight into the nature of the track. Filmed in mostly black and white (the only colours featured are red and blue, a clear nod at the gang culture of Crips and Bloods), the video includes most of the staples and clichés of the typical gangsta rap video. Dice games, sippin 40s, females in little clothes. This video is obviously an attempt at representation of life in Vince’s Long Beach community. A number of comments on the youtube release of the video have claimed that compared to his other works, Blue Suede is simply a two dimensional gangsta rap tune, and lacks the thought or intricacy of his previous works. I personally believe that there is much more to this song, and that quite a heavy air of sarcasm can be detected, if you listen in more than once. The lyrics, while admittedly not being that complex, offer what is the story of many individuals in the community Vince is representing, and perhaps the story of young Vince. There is no glorification of gang culture and violence here, only an acknowlegement that it exists. Indeed, Staples goes as far to highlight the trivial nature of this lifestyle and mentality. The lyrics, which explain the titling of the track, are steeped in this – ‘all I wanted was the Jordans with the blue suede in em’. It is worth mentioning the evocation of Elvis Presley’s Blue Suede Shoes – once again they are an image of success and social value. Vince isn’t glorifying the gang and criminal mentality, no, he is revealing it’s flat motivations. This is a depiction of gang life, according to Vince’s experiences.
The instrumental itself is dark and foreboding. There is nothing particularly happy or hopeful about the track, and this is the key point from where it differs to much of the gangsta rap coming out of the U.S at the moment (not going to name any names). It doesn’t brag, it simply illustrates, and this indeed is where this track has its particular artistry; it is an honest and unglorified depiction of a time and a place. Some people may not be used to that, and therefore may not like it, but we personally look forward to the upcoming releases from Hell Can Wait.
Check it out for yourself: http://youtu.be/NJLfCBBcZAo