Vince Staples' 'Big Fish' may be the only hip-hop album that matters for the rest of 2017

Vince Staples' 'Big Fish' may be the only hip-hop album that matters for the rest of 2017
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images
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Cue the air raid sirens, blow all the whistles, get Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson back on the beach — we've got to get these rappers out of the water. 

Vince Staples, terror of Christian YouTube blogger moms and bane of internet rap trolls (who continually fail to get a rise out of the sour-faced emcee), has dropped his second track of 2017, the Christian Rich-produced "Big Fish." 

It's a lean two minutes and 46 seconds but it's a complete statement of purpose — no wasted words, no garbled phrasing. The track arrived on Thursday, paired with an announcement on the Beats One Twitter account: This song is from Vince's fast-approaching sophomore album, Big Fish Theory, which is coming June 23.

Nice of the Long Beach rapper to offer a heads up to the rest of the hip-hop world, which is sniping back and forth about whether Lil Uzi Vert is a cool guy and if Lil Yachty's music is giving us cancer. Vince Staples is going to drop a lot of great raps soon, and all of these little boats are going to get sunk if they don't steer clear.

When the world first heard the nasally Artesian rapper guesting on random Odd Future tracks back in 2010, few people probably thought that Vince Staples would make it this far. But thanks to his wealth of raw talent, superior intellect and surprisingly good camera presence, he's managed to make gold out of his early co-sign from No I.D. and proper A&R treatment in the Def Jam circuit.

Staples also hasn't stopped getting better, which is a rare trait among his set of young underdog peers (see: Joey Badass, Logic, Hodgy Beats). His debut, Summertime '06, was perhaps the most cohesive, listenable project of 2015, and 2016's Prima Donna EP was a smart, quick-witted six tracks that had the depth of 12. 

"Big Fish" has sly rhymes for days — with its "eatin'," "squeezin'," "Artesian" triptych and dense "Quarterbackin' like I'm 40 Water" call back. It feels like a bridge, introducing hip-hop's past, with nods to O.G.s like E-40, Snoop Dogg and Juicy J, to elements of its future, heard in the sort of slick minimalist production that's launched far lesser rappers to superstardom. 

With so many of hip-hop's power players out of the way for now — Kendrick, Future, Migos, Drake have all already released records this year — who else is there really to look forward to? Hip-hop heads can punish themselves by looking out for Jay Electronica's eternally delayed debut or Jay Z's 13th LP, or they can brace themselves for Big Fish Theory and grab a cool, refreshing Sprite

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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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