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Big Fish Theory

by Vince Staples

Released June 23, 2017 via Blacksmith Records / Def Jam Recordings

Reviewed June 29, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Yeah Right (82%), Big Fish (45%), 745 (33%)

Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory ventures in new sonic directions in comparison to his previous work. With otherworldly beats taking influence from house music and Detroit techno, the production overshadows Vince’s verses at times. Still, Big Fish Theory is a solid, cohesive, and concise project.

The production on this album embraces a minimalist approach relying on simple drum beats and synthesized bass lines. It sounds like Staples wanted to make music that could be played in the club, which is certainly an experimental gamble for the Long Beach MC, but one that pays off. One standout is “745,” which combines G-funk and techno to create this lurching monster of a track that carries a lot of bombastic attitude. Other songs like “Bagbak” have electronic drum beats that are simply infectious.

But, Vince’s verses fall short in comparison. There’s nothing lacking to his flow, but on most of these songs, Staples gets drowned out. The lyrics are similarly a little uninspired, with most of the songs lacking personality. Compare this to Kendrick Lamar’s feature on “Yeah Right” which, like most of Lamar’s features, steals the show. Despite all these issues I have with Vince’s lyricism on this project, they don’t really detract from my enjoyment of the album. Partly the reason the verses go unnoticed is that the production is just so damn good. – Daniel (8/10)

Cam: 8.8/10 | Hadley: 8.5/10 | Daniel: 8/10 | Dominick: 8/10 | DeVán: 7.5/10 | Peter: 7/10

Community Reviews:

This is everything an experimental hip-hop album should be. Vince went the same route as Kanye, with Yeezus, in the sense that he got some of the least expected artists to produce this LP. The result is an amazing batch of dance/experimental hip-hop tracks that don't drag at all. The only problem that keeps from it being perfect is the lackluster closer, which is fine, but feels a bit out of place for the record. A modern classic. – @alannuzcategui (9.7/10)

So overlooked in terms of revolutionary production in hip-hop. SOPHIE did an incredible job on “Yeah Right,” which is still one of the hardest hitting songs of all time. – @alex.hutchinson.rare (8.7/10)


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