Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Album Review: Vince Staples- Big Fish Theory

Vince Staples
Big Fish Theory
** out of *****

In interviews and on twitter Vince Staples has no short sense of ego, claiming he is so far ahead that he is making music for the year 2029 and music for the MoMA not your Camry, and that arty sense of adventure is everywhere on his newest Big Fish Theory. The simple issue is, if this is music for the future or modern art museums, it isn't all that great to listen to in the present.

The phrase disjointed came to mind often during the twelve song album, for a disk running only thirty six minutes it sure feels a hell of a lot longer. There are slight themes of isolation, hip hop culture and lost love, but the album break's up, fall's apart and never coalesce, the opener "Crabs In A Bucket" is a good example of the project as a whole. There is a wispy beginning that sets an artsy tone, a strong verse from Staples, then an electro beat outro with some female vocals equaling a big nothing when it is over.

Staples rhymes are intricate and boastful and he seems confident in his style which is forceful. While his spoken word/lightly sung sections are dull, when he is on message he is engaging. The pairing of "Alyssa Interlude" which contains a spoken word sample from Amy Winehouse and "Love Can Be..." is an engaging look and isolationism lost love/lost fame and celebrity culture but elsewhere there is little flow to the overall album.
The major reason for this is clearly the beats. There is a techno/house feel with slick production and an obvious sense of trying to be different/original from the beginning. Art-hop that pulls out the bottom when big banging is needed for a chorus ("Party People"), dark sluggish musical odes that don't match braggadocios capitalism ("Big Fish") and cluttered efforts that over-bake then somehow under-cook a track ("7:45). The production was handled by a few camps including Zack Sekoff, SOPHIE, Jimmy Edgar, GTAFlume and none manage to put it all together for staples; there are no standout tracks here.

When Kanye West dropped Yeezus he changed hip hop by producing the first grand scale art-hop record that clearly fucked with the status quo. Since then countless other artists have enjoyed the freedom West reveled in. Few of them have crafted timeless listenable albums however that can stand alongside the classics in the genre from yesteryear. Whether it be minimalist soundscapes, lack of low end or change for the sake of change things haven' been strong since that album changed young ears. Big Fish Theory, while adventurous, never becomes engaging and fails to reel in the catch it is looking for.
We have tracked Staples work since the start and haven't yet grasped the appeal. Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below.


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