The second EP from Long Beach rapper Vince Staples, Prima Donna is a concise and intense ride that follows his 2015 breakout album, Summertime '06. Featuring appearances from A$AP Rocky and Kilo Kish, Prima Donna combines Staples' uncomfortably honest inner ruminations with wider social issues relevant to being a black man in America. As he declares on the second track, reality is so dire, one has to be "War Ready." Immediately following on "Smile," he repeats "sometimes I feel like giving up," the psychological toll of life pushing him to the point of "sometimes I wanna kill myself." It's a sobering slice of vulnerability from the young rapper. He jumps from helpless to hopeful -- often within the same song -- but remains hungry throughout. With production by DJ Dahi, John Hill, No I.D., and James Blake (on the OutKast-sampling "War Ready"), Prima Donna is an essential snapshot of 2016 that bears witness to the evolution of an artist coming into his own with an unflinching, socially conscious perspective.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung