Songs We Love: Vince Staples, ‘Senorita’

By Timmhotep Aku  |  NPR

On paper, Vince Staples‘ Long Beach origins, gang affiliation and grim subject matter would lead some to write him off as just another gangsta rapper from Los Angeles County (see: YG), but skillfully executed songs like “Senorita” prove he’s much more than that.

Over a Christian Rich beat that feels more Atlanta than L.A., we get Staples’ signature cynicism and dark humor in trap mode — complete with a vocal sample of Future’s “Covered N Money” for full effect.

A simple, but no less chilling piano loop is juxtaposed with a booming, ominous bass line and clipped percussion to give Staples the perfect canvas on which to paint his vivid picture of gangbanger pathology: “That’s somebody’s son / but a war to be won / baby, either gon’ hunt or be hunted / We crabs in a bucket, he called me a ‘crab’ / so I shot him in front of the Douglas / I cannot be f***** with, we thuggin’ in public.” Momentary remorse gives way to survival instinct in his kill-or-be-killed world.

Sure, we’ve heard similar stories before, but Staples’ dexterous flow and gift for description — of both environs outside and conflict within — make him one of the most consistently impressive rappers around.

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