Vince Staples Shares His Final Def Jam Album 'Dark Times'

The 13-track project arrives more than a decade after Staples signed with the entertainment giant.

Black square with the barely visible text "Donda" in the center. This is the album cover for Kanye West's album "Donda"
Black square with the barely visible text "Donda" in the center. This is the album cover for Kanye West's album "Donda"

Vince Staples has released his Def Jam swan song.

More than a decade after signing with the UMG-owned record label, Staples announced he was ending his contract with the release of Dark Times. He confirmed the release via Instagram on Sunday, saying the project would reflect his growth as an artist.

“Eleven years ago, a young, uncertain version of myself was given an opportunity with Def Jam Recordings,” he wrote. “I released my first project under their banner, Shyne Coldchain Vol 2, a year later. I was unsure of what to expect from the world of music but deeply aware of what I needed: a change in my surroundings and a clear understanding of self. Ten years and seven projects later, I’ve found that clarity. Now, I share with you my final Def Jam release, Dark Times.”

The album spans 13 tracks, including the previously released “Shame on the Devil,” produced by Saint Mino, Tyler Page, Joe Harrison, and Michael Uzowuru. Dark Times marks Staples’ first full-length project since Ramona Park Broke My Heart, which ranked No. 5 on Complex’s “The Best Albums of 2022” list. Staples told Rolling Stone that Romona and Dark Times demonstrated his artistic evolution, as he’s learned to master certain elements of the craft.

“I think as time goes on, [I] put things out into the world, find a response to it, find out how to get better, [and] find out how to better convey those things,” he explained. “Those things would be songwriting, song structure, and not necessarily the right or wrong way to do it, just the way that I want to do it. Also, just how you’re honing your skill as a writer or creative person in general… But it’s always for me, at least, a linear journey that you can always look back and say, ‘OK, I could see now that I didn’t understand this thoroughly at that past point in time.’”

You can stream Dark Times now on Apple Music and Spotify.

— vince (@vincestaples) May 24, 2024
Twitter: @vincestaples

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