Published Aug 31, 2016On his critically acclaimed debut Summertime '06, Vince Staples put his history of gangbanging and street activity to tape in vivid fashion. But even with the success that accompanied his major label effort, things haven't gotten easier. "Feelin' like a pop star, music drive a n***a crazy," he raps on Prima Donna's title track, alluding to new stresses that his career and rising stock have saddled him with.
Staples approaches the latest chapters of his story on Prima Donna in bleak fashion, his pen and delivery both as sharp as ever. On top of feeling fed up and hopeless (as snippets of half-sung vocal notes illustrate), thoughts of suicide run rampant. "Think of heading to Ibiza / Need a breather from the tripping / Either that or my brains to the ceiling," he raps on the James Blake-produced "War Ready," before telling us of his "Kurt Cobain dreams" in a hotel in "Loco." In forceful fashion, Prima Donna opens with Staples drawling out the familiar chorus of "This Little Light of Mine" before it's interrupted by a single gunshot.
Part of Staples' power comes from retelling stories from his troubled mind with dry, at times twisted wit. He traipses around the fuzzed-out guitars of "Smile" in opening the hook with a languid "How you doing everybody, hope you had a nice day," while explaining how he'll "Buy a million dollar home and blow my dome to paint the kitchen / Bitches like 'Is that Venetian?'" on the title track.
The contrast even appears in the EP's cover art, picturing a deadpan Staples with his head inflated in cartoonish fashion; if the Long Beach MC kept these thoughts and feelings bottled up, his head just might explode. (Def Jam)