LIVE REPORTWHITE STAGE7/28 SUN
My Magnum Opus
There were plenty of choices on Sunday, and the White Stage just happened to be the place where the future of music was on fully display. I am talking about Vince Staples, and later in the evening, James Blake. These two artists are at the forefront of a musical genre that is continuing to innovate and shift.
Vince Staples previously participated in James Blake’s “Timeless” and the latter has worked with just about all of the top hip-hop talent in the world. Through cooperation with Blake, Vince Staples has been able to take the next step, moving beyond his allegiance with Odd Future, with lyrics that transcend life in the hood.
Today, Vince Staples frequently referenced his hometown of Long Beach, CA, and pre-recorded seagulls could be heard in the background whenever he took the mic and spoke to the audience. Known as a lyricist, he still takes pride in doing the heavy lifting on many songs, instead of singing just the chorus as is want of others artists in hip-hop these days. As for his music, it is mainly trap inspired, which is the main genre in clubs and NBA locker rooms.
Vince Staple also falls into the new generation of rappers who put more emphasis on individualit such as Chance the Rapper, Tyler the creator, Frank Ocean, and Kendrick Lamar. In this way he is more modern than old school crews such as Wu Tang and Public Enemy.
On stage, eight huge oversized TV screens emerged with each playing a different channel such as u”Office” re-runs, Jeopardy, and other common US television fare. It symbolized the divided state of the nation. Some image even featured Vince Staples randomly appearing. It was a clever visual trick, and at one point I wondered if the TVs were real, they were in a sense, much more than simple screen projections.
As expected, he started the show with “FUN!” pacing the stage like a panther challenging the audience by swinging one arm freely, and accentuating his stage swagger with an occasional leap and spin. He was in full on in performer mode relishing the spotlight of the big stage.
The words “Applause” on the screen behind and Vince Staples takes a moment to address the crowd telling everyone he is from Long Beach and that he is happy for his first performance in Japan. “I am glad it’s here, we’ll see, I love it here”.
Then it was “Big Fish” and “Rain Come Down” from “Big Fish Theory”, which is electro- bass heavy and tone. Staples takes a break and tells everyone to step back and make a big circle, and when the music begins again a huge mosh pit emerges. This shows that he can comfortably rock such a crowd.
Staples then steps back and looks at the madness he has orchestrated noting “that was nice, that was crime.” Seagulls once again chirp through the PA speakers and he’s about to soon finish off this stellar yet short set with what he describes as “my magnum opus’’.
The tune is of course “Norf, Norf” with the famous refrain, “I aint run from anything but the police.” The audience knows the song, you may even know the song, as this young star is rising quickly with high profile performances like the one we just saw tonight. It was a thoroughly enjoyable performance, and we will surely be seeing more from this up and coming young rapper.