Vince Staples is a young, upcoming rapper who’s gained more and more recognition over the last few years. Most notably, he has worked with Earl Sweatshirt, Odd Future, Schoolboy Q, and Mac Miller. Hell Can Wait is his first EP and his debut album, Summertime ’06, is set to be released on June 30th. The first single off Summertime ’06,” Señorita,” was released on on May 5th, and it offers up something new from Staples. It features a catchy piano rhythm, in addition to club-like backup vocals that listeners may not be as used to hearing in his songs.
Hell Can Wait covers a lot of ground that gives listeners a deeper look into Vince Staples, showing a large leap forward from the verses I heard a few years ago when I was first introduced to his music. The EP starts off with a song called “Fire,” which pretty much sets the tone for the entire album. It begins with a smooth bass rhythm and then explodes, sucking listeners into the reality of life through Vince Staples’ eyes. Vince starts off talking about life, where he lived while growing up in Long Beach, Compton, and Lynwood, California. He talks about needing to steal to survive and his experience with gang life. “65 Hunnid” and “Screen Door” are the next two tracks, both being brutal ballads with catchy and somewhat spooky beats. Vince brings listeners further into his reality of growing up in Southern California, fighting to survive and resorting to a life of selling drugs just to get by. “Screen Door” provides more anecdotes from his experiences selling to drug fiends.
The next track, “Hands Up,” could almost be an anthem, speaking out against the use of excessive force by police (though the song itself is primarily about the LAPD). “Raidin’ homes without a warrant, shoot him first without a warning/And they expect respect and non-violence, I refuse the right to be silent.” The next track, “Blue Suede,” speaks to the fact that gang violence is still a prominent and deadly issue in the United States that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. The chorus says it all, using the colors red and blue to state where his loyalty stands and speaking of the price most youth in these cities pay. “New shoes with the blue suede, blue suede, the blue suede, the blue suede/Young graves get the bouquets, bouquets, the bouquets, the bouquets”.
There is no denying the raw emotion and talent that went into the production of Hell Can Wait, and it is a must listen for fans of any type of rap. Hell Can Wait is a 23-minute glimpse into the story of how a kid, against all odds, became what he is. Vince Staples essentially makes a short film using only words, conjuring vivid imagery that brings listeners into his world as a young adult without much aside from a love for music. If Summertime ’06 is anywhere near as good as this EP, we’re all going to want to keep listening.