Vince Staples’ sophomore effort, ‘Big Fish Theory,’ is finally here… to shatter your expectations.

If everyone else goes right, Vince Staples is always going to go left. Rap’s self-anointed ‘Prima Donna’ has commanded a following since his ‘Shyne Coldchain’ days and has carried it over to his Twitter. Now, in 2016, Staples has shared ‘Big Fish Theory,’ the follow-up to his 2015 double-disc debut, ‘Summertime ’06.’

‘Big Fish Theory’ released on all streaming formats at midnight EST, and Staples himself took to Twitter to issue a, well, warning of sorts.

Completely feature-free (save for some uncredited female voices, like the one on “Alyssa Interlude”), ‘Big Fish Theory’ clocks in at twelve tracks deep. And the album is barely two tracks in before “Big Fish” alone proves Staples’ claim that he’s “serving the bass,” over an infectious upbeat dance track that’s hidden in hip-hop. But what ‘Big Fish Theory’ is all about, is challenging expectations.

It is bombastic and not exactly a rap album… or maybe it’s a musical album with rap elements. Staples invites a girl along on a date on the slowed-down “745,” talking life and plans to spend time as romantically as he can while admitting his shortcomings as well (“spent so much money tryna park the car, barely got a tip for the maitre’d”). Vince damn near takes listeners underwater with “Homage,” adopting a rapid-fire flow over the aquatic instrumental and heavy percussion. He even attempts low-tempo R&B on the album closer “Rain Come Down,” and succeeds without question.

How listeners swim through and interpret ‘Big Fish Theory,’ is up to them. Vince Staples has simply taken it upon himself to provide the sounds for them to float along to. Stream Vince Staples’ ‘Big Fish Theory’ LP down below, by way of Apple Music. ‘Big Fish Theory’ is out now on iTunes.

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