On last year’s Prima Donna EP, Long Beach’s Vince Staples began flirting with electronic sounds, collaborating with James Blake and coaxing some very out-of-character beats out of DJ Dahi. It was an intriguing addition to Staples’ already well-formed musical identity, but one that still felt a bit scattershot-- the EP was a half-measure in that regard, but one that was batshit crazy enough to demand that Vince continue to follow four-on-the-floor beats and glitchy instrumentation down the rabbit hole.
Staples’ new album, Big Fish Theory, is out today, and it’s exactly the endpoint to Prima Donna’s progression that we all needed. On it, he collaborates with new-school dance music talents like GTA, Edgar, Flume, and Sophie while warping barely-there contributions and/or samples from the likes of Juicy J, Ray J, Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky, Gorilla Zoe, Rick Ross, and Ty Dolla Sign. Oh yeah, and Justin Vernon and Damon Albarn are on there too. The result is something like major label rap being thrown into a blender made out of alt-EDM, and it’s excellent.
Coinciding with the arrival of the album is the release of the video for pre-album single (and closing track) “Rain Come Down,” featuring the aforementioned Ty Dolla. Produced by Brainfeeder affiliate Zack Sekoff, who with four production credits is the biggest shaping force on the album, the song is representative of Big Fish Theory’s overall sound, despite rocking a fittingly more relaxed vibe to close out the album.
The video finds Staples in the desert camped out next to a seemingly out of place shipwreck, a scene reminiscent of Louis Sachar’s Holes, where there’s also inexplicably a bottle of Sprite. We follow Vince from this site to a campfire and then to a rain-splattered diner, and the only constant is the bottle of Sprite. Get that endorsement money, Vince.
Listen to the full Big Fish Theory on Spotify. You won’t be disappointed.