With his second EP, Staples shows us exactly why he deserves all the hype and accolades he received for last years spectacular debut LP Summertime ’06, an album I thought was the second best hip hop release of 2015, and a top 10 record overall. For whatever reason I haven’t listened to nearly as much hip hop this year as I have in the past. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a handful of albums dominate my time and I haven’t pushed hard to expand. It has me feeling a bit out of touch. However, I definitely think that will change after listening to Prima Donna. Sort of how when you read a great book, it gets you excited to read more? That's how this was for me, just a really good short listen, a listen that made me excited for hip hop.
First and foremost, can we talk about how sweet the Outkast “ATLiens” sample is on Staples second track, the fiery “War Ready,” one of two songs produced by James Blake on the release. Right when I heard it I knew I was in for a treat, that simple. Staples’ style is unique, and in a world when a lot of up and coming rappers are trying to duplicate each other, it’s exactly what I wanted to hear. He has features on two of the songs, my favorite being Kilo Kish's presence on “Loco.” It has some real flavor and I hope the two work together on his next full length; their chemistry is strong and her down tempo monotone approach complements his vibe really well.
The production is the highlight on Prima Donna, it’s crisper and heavier than it was on Summertime ’06 and Staples responds to it, showing expanse in his style. Relying heavily on DJ Dahi, as well as John Hill, James Blake, who I mentioned, and No I.D., whose sole track, “Pimp Hand,” is my favorite on the EP. Vince is doing his thing right now and I don’t see him slipping out of this groove any time soon. Get on it.