Album Review of Hell Can Wait by Artist Vince Staples

todayMay 4, 2015 52

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Artist: Vince Staples

Album: Hell Can Wait

Label: Def Jam

Released: 10-7-14

Hell Can Wait Album Cover
Vince Staple’s Album Cover for Hell Can Wait photo courtesy of

The West Coast has been a force to be reckoned with in the past years in hip hop, with artist such as Kendrick Lamar and his TDE label mates bringing the underground rap scene to mainstream music. The story-telling, conscious rap styles are starting to mirror the golden age of hip hop once again. The N.W.A. became one of the most influential rap groups to ever grace the game in the late 80’s and early 90’s. When N.W.A. came out with their controversial raps, it literally started riots in the streets of Los Angeles, showing the power of their movement.

Vince Staples is one of these artist hailing from Long Beach that has created a nostalgic feeling of the gangster-rap genre on his debut album “Hell Can Wait”. Vince has released a number of free projects in the past few years, most notably “Shyne Coldchain Vol. 2, that truly showcased what he has to bring to the table as an artist. He recently gained the attention of respected hip hop legend Common, who asked him to be featured on the single of his newest album “Nobody’s Smiling”. He has also been associated with Odd Future because of his many collaborations with Earl Sweatshirt. He gained the respect of many hip hop heads after delivering such a hard-hitting verse on one of Earl’s records called “Hive”.
Very few artist can master the art of story telling like we saw in Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d city”, but “Hell Can Wait” paints a detailed picture of what Vince witnessed as a youth in Long Beach, California. The album only has a total of 7 tracks and only one feature. Without any features, it is evident that each track represents exactly what he set out to accomplish, his story. The title for “Hell Can Wait” was inspired by his mother, who he references often in his music, telling him that hell is not going to wait for him to be a better person.

The production on every song meshes merely perfect with his grimy lyrics. According to Vince, one of the best verses he has written to date is the second track titled “65 Hunnid”. His lyrics paint the picture of a gang initiation type scenario:  “It’s time to show how much you love your homies / One n**** outside, two n***** up inside the store / One n**** gon’ die, the other two can come along / Gloves with the disguise, bang the set before you blow / Don’t stop ’til he drop / Don’t shoot for the skies or shoot for his soles.”

The next track continues with a descriptive story about his dad being a drug dealer in the saying “Who’s that knockin’ at my screen door / I got what you need what you fiend for?” This track could be considered a follow up of another song similar called “Nate” off of one of his mixtapes.

The lead single off of “Hell Can Wait” called “Hands Up,” Vince does not hesitate in calling out corrupt authority which resembles the controversial style of “F*** The Police” by N.W.A. Some have speculated that it was geared towards the recent police brutality brought to light in the media but he has stated on Twitter, that the song is inspired by his own experiences.

Compared to past projects, Vince has stuck to his guns as far as delivering powerful imagery, descriptive story-telling, and honest lyrics. “Hell Can Wait” altogether is packed with one lyrical song after another, showcasing his improvement as time goes on. Vince Staples leaves no room for any doubt in his ability to be considered one of the top artist in hip hop currently.

Reviewed by Zach Rowley

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