Ever since his first full-length release, Summertime ‘06, Vince Staples has proven his great propensity for adept rapping, inventive lyricism, and tight production. His hot streak continues on his sophomore LP; sleek, swift, and stylish, Big Fish Theory is filled with brisk banger after banger.
Efficiency is the name of the game on Big Fish Theory. Running only 37 minutes, Vince raps decisively and explicitly. He somehow manages to jump from being introspective to hedonistic to political to lackadaisical multiple times over the course of the album. At the same time, Vince doesn’t lose his predilection for detail and observation. He is very much examining the paradox of modern hip-hop culture; both praising rap stardom and critiquing its notoriety.
Big Fish Theory is a bit of a genre bender. It’s manic and futuristic, consisting mainly of two-step beats that give his frenzied verses a sense of intense urgency. At times, it feels like the beats travel faster than Vince’s fractured thoughts. However, he is all about working smarter, not harder, and his vigorous rapping allows him to cover a stunning amount of ground. Ultimately, the production never overpowering his message. This club rap is an unconventional and compelling combination; a smorgasbord of emotions and speculations. Big Fish Theory also hosts some big names, both on the production (SOPHIE, Flume) and guest verse (Kendrick Lamar, Ty Dolla $ign, Juicy J) fronts. Like the electronic production, they have their place as a supplement to Vince’s bars. They are methodically and strategically placed, never overwhelming him.
Big Fish Theory is a lot of things: chaotic, mystifying, and very compelling. It’s certainly a switch up from the reflective, pragmatic Vince we’re used to seeing. However, given his very obvious talent, it’s not a surprising progression at all. With Big Fish Theory, Vince has given us an album that is both innovative and approachable. That’s no easy feat.
Big Fish Theory Track Listing:
01. Crabs in a Bucket
02. Big Fish
03. Alyssa Interlude
04. Love Can Be…
06. Ramona Park is Yankee Stadium
07. Yeah Right
10. Party People
12. Rain Come Down
Run Time: 37:09
Release Date: June 23, 2017
Check out the video for new single “Big Fish”