Vince Staples – “Ramona Park Broke My Heart” review

Vince Staples is a 28 year old rapper, singer/songwriter & actor from Compton, California who came as a close affiliate of the now defunct Odd Future collective. He would go on to release 4 mixtapes before signing a joint deal with Blacksmith Recordings & even No I.D.’s very own Def Jam Recordings imprint ARTium Recordings. My personal favorite of which being Stolen Youth, which was entirely produced by the late Mac Miller. His first major label outing Hell Can Wait was a dope little EP preluding the full-length debut Summertime ‘06, which became one of the best double disc albums of the previous decade. Vince later detailed the pitfalls that came with his success on the next EP Prima Donna, but the dude’s sophomore effort Big Fish Theory was unquestionably his most experimental work yet. But after linking up with Kenny Beats for his 3rd EP FM! & his eponymous 3rd album, Vince is looking to reach out to some outside producers for his 4th one.

“THE BEACH” kicks off the album with some organs talking about his G’s moving whereas “AYE! (FREE THE HOMIES)” follows it up with a guitar driven ballad dedicated to all his homies locked up. “DJ QUIK” takes a spacier route referencing my favorite diss track of all-time “Dollaz + Sense” in the hook just before the DJ Mustard-produced “MAGIC” works in some Bay Area influences talking about feeling like he’s floating.

After the “NAMELESS” interlude, we have Vince on top of a sample of “No Love” by Lyves for “WHEN SPARKS FLY” talking about them taking his girl away from him leading into Lil Baby tagging along for “EAST POINT PRAYER” to deliver some braggadocious trap. “SLIDE” goes into glossier territory talking about being shot at, but then “PAPERCUTS” returns to trap turf explaining that it’s all about the money.

“LEMONADE” is a cloudy declaration of life being bittersweet while “PLAYER WAYS” has a moodier tone talking about keeping it funky with the bitches. “MAMA’S BOY” compares his love for the game to the love he has for his own mother really well over a pillowy beat while “BANG THAT” returns with a gangbanger’s ode.

After the “SPIRIT OF MONSTER KODY” interlude, the penultimate track “ROSE STREET” mixes pop rap with trap to explain him putting his gang ties over hoes & “THE BLUES” closes out the album on a darker note encouraging the listeners to pray for him.

Every time Vince drops a project, I know I’m getting myself into some crazy concept & Ramona Park Broke My Heart lives up to if not surpasses the expectations set by self-titled this past summer. I love how he details his experiences of exploring the utility of home & how the overall sound of the album varies in comparison to his last couple efforts being heavy on Kenny Beats’ signature sound.

Score: 4/5

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