and DJ Dahi), without sacrificing any intensity or heft. They each play their roles well or at worst become part of the backdrop, aiding the general flow and texture of the album. RAIN COME DOWN. “Vince Staples is coming once again with the brand new sound.” While the sound in question is mostly retrofitted dance music that slopes to suit rap cadences, there’s something radical in how swiftly and easily he scales these craggy bops with fractured verses. The driving force behind Big Fish Theory is tempo; Staples exudes manic energy, departing from the unnerving calm that marked earlier releases. The latter half of the album is equally unrelenting. In the run-up to the album, he referred to the project as futuristic, and even labeled it Afrofuturism for a while, though he later claimed he was trolling. It was released on May 18, 2017 by Blacksmith Records, ARTium Recordings and Def Jam Recordings. First, he continues to push the boundaries with the production that he includes on his records. But frequent collaborator Kilo Kish serves sort of secret weapon: her ability to move wispily through a song without disruption is key to several moments on the record, as on the entry on “Love Can Be…,” the softly, sweetly-sung coda on “Homage,” and the evaporating murmurs that lead “Crabs in a Bucket” into “Big Fish.” The biggest drop-in is Kendrick Lamar’s turn on the flossy “Yeah Right,” which delivers pyrotechnics as he and Vince dismantle tropes on rap’s inherent boastfulness. The song features vocals from Juicy J and produced by Christian Rich. Pitchfork is the most trusted voice in music. "Homage" rides an anxiety-ridden, Radiohead-esque landscape with the help of Kish and Rick Ross, while the twisted "Samo" returns SOPHIE to the fold with A$AP Rocky. 1. The result is a sleek rave-rap record that casually probes celebrity and class, a release that is half celebration of rap stardom and half critique of the often toxic culture it breeds. Longtime collaborator and tourmate Kilo Kish joins Bon Iver on the standout "Crabs in a Bucket," while Juicy J joins Staples on the most traditionally big bass rap burst of the title track. Even though the two albums are stylistically different and have conflicting agendas, Big Fish Theory feels like a natural progression. "Love Can Be…" features Damon Albarn, Kish, and Gorilla Zoe on the GTA-produced track that pops and jitters without ever evolving. But his eye for detail and observational skills remain intact. Listen to Big Fish online. Like a collision between the creative energies of DJ Rashad and DJ Spinn, and even the brightness of mainstream house from the likes of Disclosure, Theory finds Staples taking steps away from the ominous anxiety of the Clams Casino/Flying Lotus drone of his breakthrough Summertime '06 (produced primarily by No I.D. English ℗ 2017 Def Jam Recordings, a division of UMG Recordings, Inc. Guests generally appear in the margins, prove their usefulness, then vanish quickly—Damon Albarn sings for a few seconds, there are some hypeman-style vocals from A$AP Rocky, some garnishing R&B harmonies courtesy of Ray J, Kučka provides a quick interlude, Juicy J drops swag chants. world and become something of an internet talking head, he’s now ready to figure out where, exactly, he fits into rap, and how rap fits into society at large. Staples’ 2016 EP, Prima Donna, opened with a budding rap star dying by suicide before tracing the path that led him there, and Big Fish Theory further explores the theme. “This is Afrofuturism y’all can keep the other shit. No ads. Amid the partying and paper-chasing, there are flashes of darkness and melancholy: “How am I supposed to have a good time when death and destruction is all I see?”. Amy Winehouse speaks in the opening seconds of “Alyssa Interlude” (via an excerpt from a 2006 interview), setting the tone: “I’m quite a self-destructive person, so I guess I keep giving myself material,” she concludes, a sobering look into her process. English. Amid the gleaming productions, he’s still exploring darkness. The new album is smooth where Summertime ‘06 was jagged, foregoing the disquieting noise for something more functional, finding sophistication in streamlined motion, like an art installation set up in a nightclub. For the third consecutive year, Long Beach rapper Vince Staples issued a standout effort that continued to push creative boundaries while deepening his lyrical prowess. Staples promoted Big Fish Theory with a tour through Canada and the United States, the Life Aquatic Tour. In general, “Big Fish Theory” is Vince Staples best album to date for a variety of reasons.
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