Vince Staples – “Big Fish” (Singles Going Steady)

"Big Fish" is a fine way to lead into Vince Staples' new album.

Mike Schiller: It’s just two verses and a hook, but these verses kill. Vince Staples hasn’t been around long but his mastery of meter, rhythm, and wordplay is in full effect throughout “Big Fish”, which says its piece and leaves us wanting more. It sounds like it’s a tale of self-aggrandizement thanks to its hook, but the lyrics are another tale of the difficulty and conflicts of interest that came with the gang affiliations of his youth (not to mention the literal sinking ship of the video). “Big Fish” is a fine way to lead into his new album. [9/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Both the audio and video for “Big Fish” have a strong simplicity to them. Vince Staples knows how to keep up his momentum, and here, his constant rhythm adds an immovable strength to his introspection. Staples spins a solid verse, and Juicy J’s chorus is one that sticks. There’s a lot of commercial viability here (several of the YouTube comments marvel at the lack of swearing), but “Big Fish” has structural integrity, too, and it’s a good cut to drop in anticipation of Staples’ upcoming sophomore album. [7/10]

Paul Carr: Staples signature rumble and roll of bouncy, claustrophobic beats are cut with some west coast funk but don’t let that fool you. “Big Fish” still finds Staples brooding among the shadows as he wrestles with the dark thoughts in his brain. Lines like “Swimming upstream while I’m tryna keep my bread / From the sharks made me wanna put the hammer to my head” reveal the depth of his inner struggle. However, the battle with his personal demons still makes for an exhilarating listening and provides further evidence that Staples is about to go stellar. [9/10]

Steve Horowitz: Vince has got the flow, but the doesn’t have much else going on. Sure, one has to be patient to catch a big fish. That’s a truism. But the music has to have more of a hook if it is going to catch anyone or anything worth keeping. [5/10]

SCORE: 7.50


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