Vince Staples is one of the strongest up and coming names in the rap game; surging with lyrical venom and an intense authenticity backed by beats equally hard as they are catchy. The rapper, with his distinct and infectious sound, has recently embarked on his The Life Aquatic Tour (inspired by Wes Anderson’s movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), joined by fellow musician and frequent collaborator Kilo Kish. Staples performed both March 18th and 19th at Chicago venue The Metro, igniting the crowd with his unparalleled energy and delivering an unforgettable performance.
Staples first caught the attention of the music world in 2013, primarily from his features on Earl Sweatshirt’s album titled Doris. Staples was propelled into mainstream success with his 2014 release of Hell Can Wait, a look into the struggles faced by Staples growing up in a poor economic area filled with gang violence. The EP was filled with gritty details, from the gangbanging occurring on his childhood street to obscuring the truth about his father’s drug dealing.
The rapper continued to blow up with the incredibly successful 2015 release of his studio album Summertime 06’. The album was a haunting chronicle of Staples’ summer, one filled with bloodshed and an irrevocable loss of innocence at the age of 13. A year later, the rapper released Prima Donna, an EP packed with bangers and even a feature from A$AP Rocky. Vince has maintained exceptional quality and veracity throughout all his projects; he won’t be falling off the rap scene any time soon.
The remarkable rapper delivered a performance just as phenomenal and gritty as his music. The show, at least the one at the Metro in Chicago, had an unconventional start. It began with The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou on LCD screens around the venue. In the hours before the performers took the stage the film was played in reverse accompanied by a wide range of songs, from catchy Christmas hits to old rock classics.
The music began with vocalist Kilo Kish, an artist many seemed unfamiliar with previous to the show. Dressed in a suit and accompanied by a musician playing a variety of instruments and using a soundboard, Kilo Kish proceeded with a strange and psychedelic performance, moving with vigor and sparking the space around her with a unique dynamism. The act was also filled with symbolic props, like briefcases that made the artist look like the typical business man off to the office, as well as a peculiar use of newspapers and old school telephones.
Following Kish, the venue was carried by a bass that shook you to your core and Staples took the stage by force. Starting his set with “Prima Donna,” a track off his most recent EP, the crowd was immediately drawn in as Staples bounced across the stage energetically, dancing and rapping in unison with unmatched fervor. Without missing a beat he moved into the song “Smile” off the same EP, and it was clear that Vince’s whole show would carry the same intensity. The show also included tracks such as “Señorita,” “Blue Suede,” “Lift Me Up,” and a whole lot more. The visuals of swimming fish on the LCD gave the venue the feeling of a fishbowl, going along with The Life Aquatic theme and producing a milieu like no other.
Vince gave his audience a treat, touching on tracks from every period in his career instead of focusing on his most recent project Prima Donna. The performance also included his hit verse on the track produced by Flume “Smoke & Retribution,” undoubtedly a highlight of the performance. Yet, when Vince left the stage you knew the show couldn’t be over, for he hadn’t played his most popular song “Norf Norf.” With screams for encore, Vince quickly returned to the stage and busted out the song, with the whole crowd swaying and rapping along at the top of their lungs. The excitement spread throughout the entire venue, making the concert unforgettable; everyone was having a great time, myself included.
Not only did Staples deliver a fantastic live performance but also kept his audience entertained from start to end with quirky production effects and artistic prowess. The tour is still in progress and if there is a show near you, attending is an absolute no-brainer. With his electric aura and the truth behind his lyrics, Staples claim to fame seems eminent.