The song, "Loco", by Vince Staples, off his latest mixtape "Prima Donna", is scattered with innuendos, metaphors, and intense themes. In the song, Vince talks about the crazy side of the lifestyle he lives and how his sanity has begun to fade and wither with age and fame. There are many specific moments where Vince delves deeper into his own mind to expose his insanity. This can be confusing to the everyday listening audience. My literary analysis delves into the more misconstrued lines and verses to better my own understanding of the piece and to improve the reader's comprehension.
My interpretation and stance on this song is that Vince Staples, an upcoming rap prodigy, is mentally struggling with his fast rise to fame and fortune and he is beginning to ascend into total insanity. In the first line, Vince states, “I load the 44 then paint the van Gogh.” Vince is not referring to literally painting a masterpiece like the looks of Dutch painter VIncent Van Gogh. The 44 is a metaphorical paintbrush and the “paint” of this scenario is actual bullets. Vince takes the idea of his insanity to the absolute highest level with this line. If it is not clear, I think Vince is talking about shooting off his ear like Vincent van Gogh, the blood splattering on the wall or whatever household canvas is the paint of the paintbrush. Vince’s self awareness and realism is what makes his message and story so powerful.
Later in the song, Kilo Kish confirms the overall message of Vince's craziness with an eerie, menacing dialogue chorus that adds to the themes already states. She says, "Everybody get a little bit crazy, seems like you've been feeling that lately. Everybody get's a little bit lonely. Keep breathing slowly, slowly. Right place at the wrong time, wrong turn in my own mind. Right place at the wrong, time, got lost in my own mind. " My interpretation of this chorus is that Kilo Kish is actually representing Vince's own conscious and the dialogue between Vince and Kilo is really just Vince justifying his insanity. Obviously, "wrong turn in my own mind" and "got lost in my own mind" are metaphors for losing a grip on reality. After thinking about this a little bit more and maybe a little bit too hard, I realized that it could also be regarding the wrong decisions Vince made that lead to him having such a crazy life. For the second perspective, I think there is less evidence to support this claim but the claim still holds valid with basic analyzation.
For my third and final literary analysis, I chose to analyze verse two of this song. The crazy theme continues in this verse but has a much darker connotation throughout verse 2. Vince raps "Lemme tell ya 'bout when a n**** went crazy. At the Mariott, having Kurt Cobain dreams. Lemme tell ya bout when a n**** went loco, Ace hotel shoulda stayed at the Soho. Housekeeping keep knockin' on my door though. Don't she know I'm staring in the mirror with a 44. Tryna keep my head straight, she tryna get the bed straight. No room to think, KABOOM on the sink." This verse is focused on Vince and his struggle with suicidal thoughts. "At the Mariott, having Kurt Cobain dreams", this line refers to Nirvana lead singer and guitarist Kurt Cobain who committed suicide in 1994 after a period of drug addiction and depression. I can assume that Vince intended this line as a parallel situation. The housekeeping scene is played out through the end of the verse. A hotel housekeeper is merely doing her job, unaware of Vince's state of mind. The end of the verse is incredibly dark. Vince kills himself while looking at himself in the mirror. KABOOM is an innuendo for the popular sink cleaner. Now obviously Vince has not committed suicide but the ideas of this song do provoke curiosity to ask. Are these verses, these scenarios inspired or directly based off true events? I speculate that this a hypothetical situation inspired by dark thoughts and visions of Vince himself.
Loco is not a pre-cautionary tale, in itself. The purpose of the song was to convey Vince's state of mind which may not apply to the everyday listener/reader. However, the chorus does give the audience a message. Being self aware of our feelings and our sanity in this fast-paced world of ours is important to contemplate. The specifics of how one would achieve complete self awareness is not concrete in the song. The goal exists but the process is determined by the one who wishes to accomplish this.