Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Vince Staples: Ramona Park Broke My Heart [Motown, 2022]
Staples is a storyteller who brags, describes, recalls, and confesses not so much in character as in an implied third person, as if the thug life is half autobiographical milieu and half mere subject matter. Rendered with a calm, articulated detail designed to convince the wannabes, bystanders, and curiosity-seeking outsiders who dominate the fanbase of any rapper who makes a good living at it, these tales of crime and punishment are longer on punishment than the run of the competition. In tone they recall the fictionalized Wu-Tang: An American Saga RZA Inc. sold to Hulu, including the parts where I can't remember who's who exactly and feel I'm learning something anyway. A-