Performer: Vince Staples
Type of Music: Hip-hop/Rap
About: Rapper Vince Staples has come a long way from his trying upbringing in Long Beach, California’s Ramona Park neighborhood. Releasing his critically acclaimed debut album, “Summertime ’06,” in 2015, the then-20-year-old saw his life turned right side up, going from being nearly trapped to having what appeared to be complete freedom.
Yet, as his 2016 release, “Prima Donna,” suggests, appearances can be deceiving. The EP delves into the confusion of sudden fame and acclimating to a lifestyle antithetical to the one he’d known in Long Beach – one wrought with gang violence and poverty. It’s a fundamental narrative in hip-hop, but rappers have always found a new way to breathe life into it. In the space of “Prima Donna’s” seven tracks, Staples brings forth a vision that’s brutal, elegant, playful and despondent in one breath.
Such is the nature of his music, as self- and socially aware as it is comical. With “Prima Donna” and “Summertime ’06” behind him, Staples has set the tone for what’s coming with “Big Fish Theory,” which was released on June 23. A standout rapper in today’s hip-hop world, he keeps his sound deeply tied to his west coast roots and his message one that knows no boundaries.
In a world of full of painful departures, his art gives listeners reason to believe that, somehow, as he advances, the people who have left him and the people he has left behind will still be waiting for him at the end.
Discography: “Winter in Prague” (2012), “Stolen Youth” (2013), “Shyne Coldchain Vol 2” (2014), “Hell Can Wait” (2014), “Summertime ‘06” (2015), “Prima Donna” (2016) and “Big Fish Theory” (2017)
You might have heard: “Big Fish,” “Norf Norf,” “Blue Suede,” “Lift Me Up,” “BigBak,” “Rain Come Down”
Playing at SlossFest: Vince Staples will perform on the Shed stage Sunday, July 16, from 9:45 p.m. to 11 p.m.