Vince Staples of Long Beach opens his sophomore LP with a house inspired, UK garage tune in which he sets the tone for the whole album. A fast, wild and dynamic ride follows, and Vince never misses a beat with tight flows and sharp, heavyweight bars. He paints a vivid and difficult picture of life for Black Americans daily. He explains how each black person is a big fish stuck in a small tank- with no room to grow, the potential of these people will never be reached, held back by what Vince believes to be a clear prejudice against African Americans in the USA. The way I interpret this theme as a whole is that Vince is stuck in the ‘tank’ of a gangsta rapper, forever confined to being ogled at by scared white folk (remember this?), and being blamed for anti-cop violence and rhetoric.
There is such a sweeping range of musical styles on the record that it is impossible to explain. Instead, wait for the futuristic, distorted bassline of BagBak, or the west coast YG-esque rhythms on Big Fish with Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J. The producers on the album shine and provide some of the highlights, and Vince’s feature selection proves him to be a kind of tastemaker, with everyone from Damon Albarn to King Kendrick himself.
The record loses some slight steam in its final third, but the tracklist is pretty solid, even when considering the album is only 36 minutes long. The record starts stronger than it finishes, although the penultimate track BagBak is a highlight of the album.
On Big Fish Theory, the Long Beach MC proves himself as one of the most creative and sharp-witted rappers working today. Vince Staples is the rapper of the future, working with the producers of the future, to create the next chapter of Hip Hop.
Highlights: Crabs In A Bucket, Big Fish, Alyssa Interlude, Love Can Be, Yeah Right, BagBak