"Hell Can Wait" - Vince Staples
5/5. West Coast hip-hop has enjoyed a little bit of a revival lately, and a lot of that is due to the success of Kendrick Lamar. Vince Staples’ EP, “Hell Can Wait”, is sort of the opposite of Lamar’s “Good Kid, MAAD City”, the opposite viewpoint at least. While this is just a short EP, it packs a whole lot. Where Kendrick Lamar was the “good kid” in that “mad city” he lived in, the kid who tried to be good, who tried to be above the gangs and the violence, Vince Staples makes no apologies for who he is. This album is riddled with realism and even cynicism. Staples is just telling you, “This is what my life was like, this is what I saw, and this is how it is”. It just is what it is. You have songs like “Screen Door”, which details Staples’ father’s drug dealing and what Staples, as a young kid, had to deal with because of it. “Mom up off of work asking me if anybody came/To kick it with my dad or was he chilling in the alleyway/He was in the alleyway, that’s what he always had me say/Slangin’ for them bills he had to pay somebody at the door”, Staples was put in a difficult position, he had to either rat out his father or lie to his mother, eventually choosing the latter. If people weren’t coming to him to buy drugs, they were coming to collect debt money. You also have a song like “65 Hunnid”, which details Staples’ own gangbanging, going into detail about a hit that he and a few others had to carry out. He talks about how you have to shoot to kill, there is no mercy on the streets, if you shoot at the sky or shoot at the feet and show any mercy, any weakness, that person is going to come back for you, “Don’t stop til he drop”, Staples says. There’s also “Hands Up” which details the problem Staples witnesses of white-on-black cop violence. Staples talks about the hypocrisy he sees in the cops conduct, “I guess the pigs split wigs for the greater good/Cause I ain’t seen them lock up a swine yet/At the most they reassign ‘em to prevent protest”. Staples believes that the ease that cops get off with killing black kids in the ghetto promotes brutality and violence as “for the greater good”. This album may be short, but it’s not light on subject matter, it’s a heavy album and Staples isn’t pulling any punches, he isn’t having any of that, he’s just here to tell it like it is. Highlights include: “Hands Up”, “Screen Door”, “65 Hunnid” and “Blue Suede”.