The Listener

Vince Staples is Christian, yet it’s hard to imagine Jesus singing along to GTFOMD

24 March 2018

9:00 AM

24 March 2018

9:00 AM

Grade: B+

Another ex-Long Beach crip replanted in pleasant Orange County via the conduit of very large amounts of record company money and thus now able to draw on his time as a gangsta, while telling us all it was a very naughty thing to have done.

The difference between Staples and much of the similarly uprooted West Coast hip-hop crew is twofold. First, off-stage the man is thoughtful, articulate and refuses to hunker down beneath the comfort blanket of black victimhood. Further, he eschews all drugs and alcohol and loathes the glorification of gang culture — something he calls coonery — and is a Christian. (Although it is hard to imagine Jesus Christ cheerfully singing along with this little number.) And second, he has words. He may not have the deep warm rumble of Snoop or the musical imagination of Kendrick Lamar. But his use of words is often mesmerising, the rapping focused and utilising complex rhythms most of his rivals would not go near. He’s a clever lad.

This single, ‘Get The Fuck Off My Dick’, which follows last year’s fairly triumphant album Big Fish Theory, is sparse, a four-note piano motif the only counterpoint to scratchy vocal loops and Staples’s loquacious rant. He is no more enamoured of rap than he was of running with the gangs, it seems, and intends to give it up sometime soon. ‘You can keep your money/ it don’t do nothing for me’.

He is not liked in some quarters for this disdain, but me — I like him more for it. What do you reckon, Republican candidate for the presidency, 2032?

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