Vince Staples‘ openers were earnest and full of ambition, while the latter half of the concert felt weary from the headliner—a surprising turn of events considering he’s only seven shows deep.
This wasn’t my first time crossing paths with the Long Beach native. I nearly had a conversation with Vince a few years ago after a show at Warehouse Live. Summertime ’06 was released in 2015 when Vince was only 21 years old, sparking interview after interview. Eager to speak his mind with no concern of judgment, what you may think is just a persona, isn’t. It’s truly him. After his then show ended, he spoke to a few loiterers directly behind the venue before heading back onto his tour bus. From conversations regarding sobriety, which some of the folks couldn’t grasp, to giving advice to an aspiring teen rapper. Everything from his tone, responses, and image felt honest. Just like you’d see him on one of his many recognized interviews – his messages were personal and veneer. The entire experience left a quaint after-taste that only itched my urge to see him again.
On Sunday, Feb. 10th, that itch was scratched. Vince returned to Houston to perform at the House of Blues. The show was kicked off by Texas Hip-Hop group PNTHN, a team of powerful young rappers that I saw just a few weeks ago opening up for Freddie Gibbs. About 30 minutes after the doors opened, PNTHN took the stage and didn’t go out without some dents. Besides the fact there are ten of them, the group moved fluidly between one another, passing the mic around like a choreographed game of football. The crowd still remained reserve, not able to direct what the group was driving—or maybe it just felt like that because it was a minute in and I was already acting a fool. I couldn’t help it! PNTHN felt more in sync this time around, able to weave between each other’s sound as well as their bodies. Exploding with energy, you will definitely be hearing more about this team.
After about 15 minutes of sound check and what not, Compton rapper Buddy brought us some West-coast style dance moves, rapid fire bars, and even a little bit of singing. Easily the most versatile performance of the night, Buddy kept each song fresh and engaging. There was a hilarious moment of unease when Buddy proudly sang his hook to “Black” acapella. “Black, black I’m black/My skin is so black/I’m rockin’ that black on black”—you could imagine how many of the lighter-skin folk reacted.
Vince took the stage around 9pm with the opening song to FM!, “Feels Like Summer.” The crowd finally let lose their energy that they had been storing since the first act. However, it didn’t seem to transfer its way to the rapper considering he seemed, well he seemed tired. He took a seat a few times on stage to thank the crowd for coming and played through many tracks from his recent project, such as “Don’t Get Chipped,” “Relay,” and “Run the Bands.” The crowd only intensified at the surprise of him playing tracks from older projects, such as “Lift Me Up” and “Street Punks” (Summertime 06′), and “Big Fish” (Big Fish Theory). Vince’s energy was there, but it felt as if his mind wasn’t. While rapping through some of the tracks, he would seem almost reclusive, to an extent. The crowd’s energy only increased throughout the show which definitely helped Vince. He closed out the show with one of his most recognizable tunes “Blue Suede” (Hell Can Wait) and “Yeah Right.” Though I don’t believe this to be one of his strongest performances, with the help of his openers, the show was eventful.
Don’t forget to check out the three acts’ most recent projects down below!
PNTHN’s debut album RICO
Buddy’s debut album Harlan & Alondra
Vince’s third album FM!