For a long time, rappers have taken their anger and almost turned it on its head. Emcees like DMX and Mystikal took their energy and fury and made it into some of the most entertaining venting music’s ever seen; shouting, screaming and even barking so aggressively you can almost feel their saliva on your face. Long Beach spitter and Odd Future associate Vince Staples takes the funny man act and devilishly warps it. He’s sure as hell angry, but on his EP Hell Can Wait, there’s no humor anywhere to be found.
A short mission statement clocking in at just 7 tracks long, Hell Can Wait lets you know exactly who Staples is and what he stands for. He’s a young black man, exasperated by the way society is treating him and his community. One of the more fiercely political projects to drop in recent memory, Vince snarls through every track, barely letting up. Although not pointing any fingers directly at any specific small towns in Missouri, he references police brutality and the plight of the far too large portion of Americans that are subjected to oppression of corrupt law. “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” Staples raps on the second single “Hands Up” with enough conviction to start a riot. Elsewhere on certified banger “Blue Suede,” he forces you to remember that, amid all the gang warfare and cruelties of the ghetto surrounding him, at one point he was still just a kid that wanted “them Jordan’s with the blue suede in ’em.”
The production matches his aggressiveness with every beat, but does so in a much more in-your-face manner. Whereas Staples is subtly cold, the beats here blast and squeal with a Cali flavor. A West Coast vibe permeates throughout, with single tracks produced by Infamous, Anthony Kilhoffer, and No I.D, but four out of the seven are helmed by Canadian beatsmith Hagler. “Blue Suede” is dripping with synths that sounded like they went through hell itself, just to be murdered again by Staples. “Limos” would be the least bent on punching you in the gut, but still snaps with its crisp drums and Teyana Taylor’s surprisingly mature sounding hook.
Since unveiling his jaw dropping bars on Earl Sweatshirt’s “epaR” and “Hive,” Staples has been one of the most highly anticipated young stars to emerge in the post-Odd Future era. Even though his subject matter has gotten less theatrically gory, his talking about reality is in no way less dark. Hell Can Wait is a statement pertaining the skill Vince Staples holds. There’s nothing funny here, just seven reasons why you should take him very, very seriously.