Off the Airwaves with WCFM

Vince Staples’s recent EP overflows with potential both for him personally and the rap genre. Photo courtesy of defjam.com
Vince Staples’s recent EP overflows with potential both for him personally and the rap genre. Photo courtesy of defjam.com

Vince Staples, Hell Can Wait Vince Staples’s new EP Hell Can Wait is a seven-song introduction to the future of rap; a new age of dark, abrasive and grippingly charismatic music that is true to its characters and listeners alike.

Staples, born on July 2, 1993, is a Los Angeles, Calif. native and a devoted one at that. Much of his music details his tumultuous childhood spent in the infamous Long Beach and Compton neighborhoods with an impressive omniscience and understanding. It is through these jarring accounts of violence and drug abuse that we can see why Staples is something special. His music is more than rhythm and flow; it is the story of a conflicted young man, shown through his eyes alone. While the production on Hell Can Wait is crisp and artfully planned, the true beauty of the EP lies in Staples’ words and the weight they carry. There is a unique authenticity in Vince’s music, an emotional component of the rap genre often lost in the grueling modern race for album sales.

Hell Can Wait conveys the harsh realities of the “hustler” lifestyle that is so readily glorified by rap music. The second song on the album, “65 Hunnid,” provides a sharp contrast to the popularized themes of financial success and sexual conquest touted by industry giants like Rick Ross and Lil Wayne. Staples delivers line after line of brutal cynicism, only to revert back to a chorus as catchy and mainstream as any other. While his delivery of cutting verses is masterful and his “flow” is to be applauded, the reality of his words paint a bleak picture of a hellacious existence. “N*ggas from my home ain’t enrolled in the colleges / F*ck a class, junkies hitting glass, get the money long.”

Similarly, “Screen Door” references this glorification of a lifestyle, one that is all too real for Staples. “Bobby Johnson ain’t my OG, this ain’t no movie,” he raps. For the 21-year-old, dealing drugs and carrying guns is far from a status symbol – it is survival. “Hands Up” discusses the use of excessive violence by the LAPD, a cultural and social commentary presented so abruptly and honestly that, we are forced stop and wonder why we care about how many Patron shots Tyga can down at a nightclub.

The headlining single from the EP, “Blue Suede,” boasts a Yeezus-esque beat that, to many other rappers, would yield a horrible result. Staples, however, coolly weaves his way through the song, painting a picture of death all the while. “Young graves get the bouquets … Hope I outlive them roses.” If you like rap, new or old, take 30 minutes and listen to Hell Can Wait from start to finish. Your time will be well spent. We can only hope that hell truly does wait, as there is a lot more to be expected from this gifted storyteller.