Vince Staples - Shyne Coldchain II

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Primed for the spotlight, Vince Staples benefits from strong connections, raw talent and poignant social commentary with the edgy "Shyne Coldchain 2."

Routinely battling odds, Vince Staples has sought escape from the trappings of endangered youth in Long Beach while coming into his own from under the shadow of his friendly competitor Earl Sweatshirt. Though the two share creative chemistry, their back-stories diverge as Odd Future’s scary imagery never matched most of their amicable realities. In contrast, Vince’s Rap pursuits detour from acquaintances and relatives who wound up imprisoned or in early graves, leaving him no choice but to carry on their legacies. A continual testament to his foresight, Shyne Coldchain 2 is his fourth mixtape in as many years, as his career has finally begun gaining traction.

Hardly one to fit in easily (thus rumored to still be on shaky ground with factions of the OF collective) Vince Staples’ primary disposition is one of cynicism towards Hip Hop and society in general. Thankfully, savvy business moves have helped him get ahead in the race while keeping his work free from compromise thus far. Out the gate taking no prisoners, Staples lets his stream of consciousness loose proclaiming, “Obama’s just a house nigga to me” on the ominous first track “Progressive 3.” Proceeding to lash out further, he starts his second verse, “Just sit and look at where they raised us at, seen blacks ain’t crack, so they gave us that / Give us hope then take us back, to the 1800s with these Rap contracts.” These sharp couplets explore the double-edged sword of progress that awaits naïve upstarts—a trap Vince has so far been adept at dodging.

Clocking in at 29 minutes, Vince Staples takes advantage of each introspective and grim moment on Shyne Coldchain 2. While he has mastered the techniques of potent flow and delivery, multiple listens are required to grasp the lessons and wisdom in the brief project’s 10 songs. “Oh You Scared” is a highlight where the normally sweet temptress Jhene Aiko teasingly accentuates Vince’s malicious performance—their conflicting values making for one of his most professionally polished records to date. Having graduated to the big leagues, the abrasive “Humble” makes it clear he’s earned his spot as its hook barks, “I deserve this shit / I’m from the side of the curb where the birds get flipped.” In vivid detail the still adolescent emcee discusses dropping out of high school to cause mischief, putting good use to witty visuals such as, “Ski maskin’, but niggas wasn’t going to Aspen.” Shortly thereafter, he tries to explain his heartless position to his mom, hoping all will be forgiven if he makes it rapping. Where it would seem he’s ice cold, he shows glimpses of sincerity here and on “Earth Science,” an open letter to an estranged flame, proving warmth lies beneath his surface.

Without an overt attempt at reaching the radio, Shyne Coldchain 2 catches the world off guard, reminding of a time when lyrics and genuine stories were all it took to be received favorably. Rather than promoting violence as a worthwhile resolution, Vince Staples’ hazardous conditions knew little alternative until Rap came along. His biggest challenge will be reeling in new fans accustomed to being spoon fed simplicity, as the murky “Trunk Rattle” risks going over heads. Setting a dismal depiction of his family’s criminal background, “back when Common had you trying to read Korans and go to college” comparing their plight to those who were afforded better experiences. Calling his affiliates “the pride of [Crip gang founder] Raymond Washington” on “Locked And Loaded”, the KKK’s onslaught as an analogy for modern urban genocide is yet another example of Vince’s poetic brilliance.

Vince Staples is a pleasant anomaly to a Rap game often watered down by acts seeking attention for everything except quality music. Full of slappers from relevant producer turned Def Jam higher up No I.D., Shyne Coldchain 2 serves as an appetizer prepping for an anticipated retail album from Staples on the powerhouse label. With the machine behind him, he tells the all too familiar tale of determination to get out of the hood instead of surviving in it. Despite his limited perspective, it manages to excite due to a varying degree of tempos along with a lack of artistic sacrifice. Since making peace with his troubled days, Vince Staples has figured out his path and leapfrogged the pack, this release sure to accelerate his steadily rising status.


RELATED: Vince Staples "Shyne Coldchain II" Cover Art, Tracklist & Mixtape Stream



  • Christian

    Production is nice. Vince finds some way to impress with lyricism even though the majority of his words are about gunplay. Very good tape.

  • Anonymous

    This is dope. deserves 5/5

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  • rainer12

    all the time all the time 45 sittin side on my ride boy.... great mixtape from a dope artist

  • Just a question niglets

    Aint he like the only member or associate of them odd future niggas that's actually from the hood or g'd up in any way?

    • Anonymous

      he aint even in OF tho

    • Anonymous

      yes but none of the others claim to be from the hood. They from Ladera Heights, LA and Domo from another city in Cali. All of them admit they not gangstas and never wanted to be. All of their gangsta shit is just a joke. They fuck around on like every fuckin track, if u dont know wat they bout by now u should just ignore them.

  • @LocalsONLY_____

    Wow this shit deserves a five. This nigga the only brother out here rhyming like a God, hustling for his people, and keeping it real about us African American Kings and Queens. Hustle young man.

  • Rozay O'Donnell

    This was a decent effort, but this kid is way too emo & depressing for my tastes. Cheer up already, dude. Every song seemed a bit on the suicidal side. Perhaps if he had a loving mentor like Rick Ross, maybe he could learn to enjoy life. He has the potential to be listenable, but unfortunately he doesn't have the right people on his team to unlock said potential. Oh well. I give this project a 2.83/5

  • IHateMorgy

    Vince willl be the Jay Z of the west (minus the selling out to samsung) LA Stand up!

  • Anonymous

    This album is definitely lower than 4.. you can't tell me he doesn't sound exactly like the rest of these indie rappers. I tried to find something that makes him stand out and couldn't. he sounds like Domo Genesis or something. Yall had the nerve to give YG's album a 3 though..I'd give this a 3.5 imo

    • Jareyah

      I agree, YG's album was dope, Have you listened to Steeze Loueeze? You should listen he's fire

    • Johnny

      He does sound like Domo Genesis at first, but I didn't think that anymore after listening to more of their tapes. I can tell them apart really easily and I think Vince is a lot more interesting, both lyrically and with his delivery. And on this tape the way he constructs some of the songs is really impressive too. I love the first two tracks. I tried to be open minded but I hated the YG album, couldn't even get through the whole thing.

    • Anonymous

      I doubt you even listened to YG's album kid. I can tell you're closed minded and only listen to your little elitist nerd raps. All you Lupe Fiasco nerds left him and went straight to the GKMC bandwagon.

    • haha

      Hahahha kid, you are talking about YG? YG is the most generic, dumb ass nikker out there. Only dumb teenagers listent to his generic music.

  • TJ Serna

    Ya'll trippin saying this album is lower than a 4. Production was there, Vince rode the beats amazingly and lyrically was on point.

  • Anonymous

    great mixtape. top hits Progressive, Trunk Rattle, Nate, Shots, and Earth Science sound like some old eminem shit

  • reconsider

    Nah, you're handing out 4's too easily.

  • Anonymous

    Album of the year

  • Anonymous

    This guys flow is very hard to listen to. Beats are okay, but the flow is not working for me.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds a lot like curren$y,voice and flow wise but he's more lyrical though Dope!

  • MykeWayne

    Great review. Haven't heard the project yet but great review

  • ugh

    4 stars really? I love Vince Staples and the producers on this mixtape (No ID, Evidence, and Scoop Deville) but besides Nate and Trunk Rattle the production was pretty shitty.