Vince Staples today announced the release of his eighth studio album, Dark Times, out May 24 via Blacksmith Records / Def Jam Recordings. A new era in the prolific artist’s canon, the album is a muscular and revelatory work refining elements that have been present in his catalog for the last decade: dense lyricism over lush, layered beats; wry, melancholic observations about life; finding pockets of light in an endless dark.


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In conjunction with the album announcement, Staples released the first single from the project and accompanying visual for, “Shame on the Devil,” which features him rapping over a warm, spectral beat, ruminating on how anointed his life is now, in spite of bouts of loneliness and fallouts with friends.  

Recorded over the course of seven months in North Hollywood, the album title came intuitively to Staples after he listened to the record in full, noticing heavy motifs that kept reappearing. The album cover,  featuring a faintly seen noose, was similarly intuitive.  Calling the project  “a personal achievement,” Staples said, “it’s me mastering some things I’ve tried before that I wasn’t great at in the beginning. It’s a testament to musical growth, song structure—all the good stuff.” 

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Dark Times follows Staples’ 2022 critically acclaimed album Ramona Park Broke My Heart, which was hailed as one of the best albums of the year by Clash, Complex, The Fader, Rolling Stone, and Vulture among others. The Los Angeles Times praised Staples as “a nimble rapper, deftly maneuvering through verses depicting the street politics of his native Long Beach,” while Pitchfork called the album “a richly detailed, deadpan elegy for his stolen youth.” Complex highlighted it as “a modern West Coast rap album embracing three decades of hip-hop history,” while NME called it “a beautifully personal reflection from start to finish,” with WIRED commending the album as “a remarkable feat in an aesthetic project concerned with locating meaning in the inevitable realities that trap us.”

Demonstrating that his talent cannot be confined to one medium, Staples also wrote, produced, and stars in the critically acclaimed Netflix series The Vince Staples Show, which debuted earlier this year. Inspired by life in his hometown of Long Beach, California, the show was praised as “dark, hilarious, intriguingly frank… laugh-out-loud funny” by Entertainment Weekly, while The New York Times described it as “mordantly funny and visually arresting.” The Guardian hailed it as “a wonderfully surreal exercise in Black creativity,” adding that “[Staples] is an endlessly compelling presence,” with COLLIDER lauding it as “one of the most confident new series of 2024…never a dull moment on screen.”

TRACKLIST

  1. Close Your Eyes and Swing
  2. Black & Blue
  3. Government Cheese
  4. Children’s Song
  5. Shame on the Devil 
  6. Étouffée 
  7. Liars
  8. Justin
  9. “Radio”
  10. Nothing Matters 
  11. Little Homies 
  12. Freeman 
  13. Why Won’t the Sun Come Out?

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