West Coast rapper delivers at FallFest

This year’s FallFest delivered the hype and mayhem hip-hop-hungry students have been long waiting to receive from UVM Program Board.amine1_bw

Vince Staples is an emerging rapper characterized by West Coast Crip roots and a cool attitude with a streak of unapologetic goofiness.

Staples wrote on Twitter, “I get mad cause the world don’t understand me. That’s the price I had to pay for this rap game.”

However, his humor is not present in the music. Instead, Staples is world-wary and jaded beyond assimilation.vince1

In confrontational storytelling of his Long Beach, California background, the music is vivid in description and hard-hitting through minimal production. The duality is ever-present in unrelenting lyrical flows over distinctly ominous beats.

Absent in Staples is the self-conscious strain of a rap messiah, as seen in Kendrick Lamar. Staples is a lone wolf in the California gangster rap revival. Outspoken and political, the weathered player in violence stakes his own position in illustrating the systemic balance of social disharmony.

“Who’s the activist and who’s the devil’s advocate?” Staples asks on his latest EP, “Prima Donna.”

As Staples told the Guardian, “I have to be a ‘conscious rapper,’ or a ‘gangster rapper’ when I’m neither. I don’t really care to be a rapper – I’d rather just be myself.”

A large audience showed up Friday night to see Staples as he is and witness the whole experience of his snarling, crawling clean beats and character intrigue.

Staples set the stage for the night with the first of many driving and entrancing hooks: “On three let’s jump off the roof,” before segwaying into the hook that repeats, “Lift Me Up.”

A song featuring A$AP Rocky asks of life, “is it real? / Real militant, once you get addicted to it.”crowd1

Staples’ songs are infectious, autobiographical interpretations of his life and context.

The accompanying visuals to the show provided imagery for the universal pressures and aspirations in society.

Footage contained pop culture references and old-school American families enjoying generic happiness and success.

The only visual that truly referenced Staples’ home was a sign for Long Beach swaying in the background for the entirety of “Norf Norf.”

The crowd was an uncomfortable mass of pushing, sweating students. The sound was low, but the nuances of Staples’ performance were not lost. The night was overwhelmingly artful and rewarding for fans, who were thrilled to see the rapper in Patrick Gym.