EP Review: Vince Staples – Hell Can Wait

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After a host of feature spots on tracks including ones from Odd Future and a couple of Common songs, Vince Staples has released his first EP on a major label. Hell Can Wait is an EP filled with stories filled with pessimistic ideas, ideas of how precious life is when living in his environment. Well trodden ideas of course, but they feel re-energised  in the way they’re done, ‘Hands Up’ for example is basically a ‘Fuck Tha Police’ for this generation. A song showing discontent for the way in which the LAPD treat young black males and have done for decades (he swears it isn’t about the Ferguson protests). Staples makes the most of his environment in any way he can, money is always the motive in his world. He explores why this is on the track ‘Screen Door’ where he shows us how he wanted to be a gangster when he was young just because his Dad’s friends were. Clever wordplay is used throughout this EP as well ‘I hope I outlive those red roses’ he spits in the chorus on ‘Blue Suede’ in relation to growing up with the Bloods, as well as being in relation to placing red roses on the graves of the young men who died in the song.

He’s brought along a couple of new friends to help on the production on this EP including Chicago producer No I.D. These guys help create some beats that sound like a continuation of the recent surge of artists trying to bring back sounds and themes of the West Coast. The sounds aren’t so abrasive as the biggest mainstream West Coast-influenced Hip-Hop album in recent years ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D. City’, but they are definitely in line with it in that it complements Vince Staples’ storytelling ability. Whether that be the howling police sirens in ‘Hands Up’; the sinister synths and trap beats on ‘Blue Suede’; or the sleazy saxophone and piano keys in ’65 Hunnid’, a song which also showcases Staples’ ability to put together a killer hook. The hooks are always better when he sings them on his own, as the only weak spot on this EP is on the song ‘Limo’ where he has Teyana Taylor singing a very lackluster hook, Even though she is a good singer it makes the song somewhat blander. It makes the song feel much like a collaboration between Beyonce and Drake, but much darker. The lyricism is still there but i’m sure having a Drake comparison isn’t what he was going for.

Vince Staples has said he won’t rap unless he has something he wants to say, and it’s evident. I’m excited to hear exactly what he has to say when he drops a full length. Artistically, moving onto a major label (Def Jam) was the best move Vince Staples has made. Through it he’s become friends with these beat makers who bring his storytelling to life while still sounding original as hell.

8/10

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