Back in April, Vince sat down with Complex to express that his upcoming album would serve a “being larger than life in a smaller world” perspective as he unravels his way through the industry. Recently rapper from the “norfside” Vince Staples released his sophomore album Big Fish Theory as a follow up to his amazing introductory in 2015 on Summertime 06′. The album that places emphasis on larger than life personalities in a small pond that breeds industry ego and success features Kilo Kish,Kendrick Lamar , Ty Dolla $ign, Juicy J,Damon Albarn, Ray J and A$AP Rocky (and production from Zack Sekoff, Sophie, Ray Brady, Jimmy Edgar, GTA, Justin Vernon and Flume, & more). With his critically acclaimed project, Vince tells us what’s on his mind as he navigates through the music industry and channels the reasons why he’s a force to be reckon with, no surface needed.
The Vince Staples we were introduced to on Summertime 06′ (and the ) is different than the Vince Staples we are meeting on his sophomore album. In 2015, we were met with the Cali native’s lyricism and was automatically impressed because his wordplay was crazy, and we were getting to know him as a rising star as he was getting to know as his audience and sharing his life’s high’s and lows via the past and present. This album on the other hand derived from a space of observing the flashy highs and trends of the industry but expressing what should be the ultimate real goal for any artist who wants to be ranked by their talent and not by the flex, remaining the same. On “Samo” he brings who he is now confidently to the forefront by telling us to watch him the do the “same thing ,way up” which is what a big fish is supposed to do, stray away from what people are used to. When I saw the title for Samo , i automatically thought it was ironic being that “Samo” was once the name for Basquiat and anyone who knows what Basquiat did as an artist, you know that the industry slowly extracted his innocence , placed an industry expectation of how he needed to be as a black artist, and got as much out of him as they could . Before he went by his name, he went by Samo where nobody knew him for the flashiness or even knew his face but they knew his art when they seen it regardless of the platform. In spite of that Vince took that narrative to say that he’s still going to remain the same, no matter the platform (whether that may pertain to doing music or anything outside of that).
Not only was the song ironic in itself but it brought the content of the whole album together. Once Basquait became the cream of the art world, the groupies flocked to him, his wants changed, the industry purposely tried to make it hard for him to succeed, the media stopped talking about his art and started focusing on his looks (which there is an old MTV clip of) and then the lifestyle he was living ended up turning on him just like Amy Whinehouse who he features and dedicates to her as “Alyssa’s Interlude” . What these two people shared is that these were two people with larger than life personalities (big fish) ,everyone wanted them for they had and could offer, and then disappeared on them when they became a victim of the industry and needed everyone the most. Even though they were big fish, the common factors shared in between is what makes it such a small pond. The small factors that glorify and liven up what you sign up for whether that be just making a small decision or big decision inside or outside the industry can be very thing that kills you in that pond.
With Vince’s lyricism he highlights the very things that he wants versus what the industry norm is. Vince likes to “dodge the groupies” and says to his future baby mama “Hope you’re skin is black as midnight” and that “we need Tamikas and Shaniquas in that Oval Office, Obama ain’t enough for me, we only getting started”. Meanwhile the industry that he now has his foot in still centers around the contrary. On “Yeah Right” , Staples says :
Pretty woman wanna slit the wrist
Pretty woman wanna be a rich man’s bitch
Pretty women want a couple kids
Pretty women want a new ass, new lips
Pretty women wanna push a Benz
Come correct and she won’t let you in
Thumbin’ through a check, she gets it in
Diamonds on your neck, is them pretend?
Vince also sheds light on the struggles and desires from the perspective of being a crab in a bucket (black)in America and the industry period with lines like
Spend a lot of money on the CDG
Ain’t I lookin’ lovely on the TV screen?
Battle with the white man day by day
Feds takin’ pictures doin’ play by play
They don’t ever want to see the black man eat
Nails in the black man’s hands and feet
Put him on a cross so we put him on a chain
Lying to me, sayin’ he don’t look like me
while still maintaining the healthy goal of
The next Bill Gates can be on Section 8 up in the projects
So ’til they love my dark skin
Bitch I’m goin’ all in
It is clear that Vince has a mission with his music and that’s to change the system that was built to destruct people like him and those alike and speaking on things that we can do now to change things for the better without being caught up in his own fame. Now that he has his foot in the door, he’s going to use his power for the good and to influence bigger decisions made by the people of the world other than what whip to drive and what chain they need. There’s nothing wrong with these things but once we start caring more about who’s baby-mama is on TMZ and not the ambition of the kids we ride by everyday, we have a problem. This album is truly a masterpiece (one of the albums of the year) with Samo (unique and untouched)quality made to push the crabs in the bucket and to influence “human issues,too strong for tissue”.