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Rapper Vince Staples is bringing his music to NYC whether you like it or not


(Read more at Daily News)

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 By: Amy Rowe


Vince Staples is making a splash with his new album “Big Fish Theory.”


The rapper and Long Beach, Calif., native worked with a host of producers to achieve a clubby sound that’s markedly different from his hit debut “Summertime ’06.” But mention “EDM” to Staples, who is set to perform in New York Saturday at Panorama Music Festival, and he’ll tell you “hip hop is electronic dance music.”


“One of the first hip hop songs ever made was ‘Planet Rock’ by Afrika Bambaataa,” the 24-year-old says before rattling off a list of early ’80s dance-influenced hip hop songs to explain his trajectory. “In a simpler answer, I wanted to create something new.”


On “Big Fish Theory,” Staples says he worked with a “tight-knit friend group” of producers and writers that included London’s SOPHIE, Detroit artist Jimmy Edgar and Kilo Kish. But the driving force behind the sound shift was newcomer Zack Sekoff, a 21-year-old Los Angeles producer credited on most of the tracks.


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“He had what we were looking for,” Staples says of Sekoff, an old friend. “He listened to what was being said about the creation of the project … Zack’s a good person. He made it easy.”


While the beats may sound different, Staples’ flow and rhymes about life in his neighborhood Ramona Park are as tight as ever.


In one new song, “Ramona Park is Yankee Stadium,” Staples invokes New York City. The song is about a Yankee hat, he says, which gang members in his Southern California hometown wear.




“We knew all the Yankee players and all that type of stuff,” he says. “You sorta feel like you had been there, we used to call (Ramona Park) Yankee Stadium. You actually see what Yankee Stadium looks like, it’s like night and day to our two-block radius park.”


Now of course, Staples is actually getting to know the city, where he says fans always turn out for him.


“It is a great place to play. I actually think our biggest shows are in New York, bigger than here,” he says.


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Staples recently played a short set in Brooklyn for the kickoff of HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” documentary. The stage setup of his own design featured lots of lights and machines spewing smoke to obscure his figure. A visualizer behind him displayed found footage of 1950s era surfers during “Norf Norf.” Staples says fans at his outdoor, daytime Panorama set are in store for something different, but they can expect “a strong visual element.”


After New York, the rapper is off to Europe for sets at a slew of festivals. He shrugs off a question about how people abroad receive his music.


“If no one liked it and engaged with it I would still go out and try to showcase it, kinda go out and see what’s possible,” Staples says. “And that’s kind of the fun behind it, is just, you know, showcasing your art.”


Vince Staples performs at Panorama Music Festival’s Panorama stage Saturday at 6:15 p.m. on Randalls Island.





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