I really started paying attention to Vince Staples while listening to Common’s Nobody’s Smiling album. His clever verses on “Kingdom” and “Out On Bond” really made me sit up and take notice. So when I heard he was releasing his latest project, Prima Donna, I had to check it out. The 7 track EP features somber and actually downright depressing moments where Vince Staples is doing some kind of weird, slurred singing. This is particularly evident on Prima Donna’s opener “Let It Shine” and the heart wrenching “Smile”. With just one full length studio album and several mixtapes in less than 5 years, Vince Staples has the aura of a veteran.
He also isn’t afraid to pay homage to some of the greats before him. On “War Ready”, he starts off the track with a looped sample of an Andre 3000 rap. He defiantly flows over eerie pianos and thumping drums. The song is hardly forgettable and one of the best tracks on the album. He keeps the momentum high with “Loco”, a fast paced, high energy dance track. Vince Staples has a flow that gives him an untouchable persona, yet familiar in the same breath.
The title track on the EP finds Vince Staples as more aggressive and less animated. Ironically, the production here is busily complicated. However, his raps over the backdrop of the intricate production mesh well together. “Pimp Hand” boasts about familiar territory in a way that makes Vince Staples recount of the story intriguing to listen to. He’s clearly confident here and after listening to just one verse, it’s easy to see why. Plus, the production here is unique and edgy.
Vince Staples closes out the EP with the appropriately titled “Big Time”. His style is more “big time” and innovative than many of today’s top Hip Hop acts. Hopefully with the backing of a legendary label like Def Jam, he’ll finally get the credit he deserves.