A RANDOM A-Z OF SINGLES : NORF NORF


The traffic to the blog slows up over the Festive period, and it’s therefore something of an opportunity to take a bit of a breather.

Over a period of 26 days, I’ll be posting a single never previously featured on its own before – it might have sneaked in as part of an ICA or within a piece looking at various tracks – with the idea of an edited cut’n’paste from somewhere (most likely wiki) and then all the songs from either the vinyl or CD.

N is for Norf Norf released by Vince Staples as a single in June 2015.

The first in the series not to actually get a physical release, as a single.

I’m sure it was SWC who brought this to my attention.  If it was, then thank you….and if it was someone else, then I apologise profusely.

Here’s all music’s take:-

One of the most talented voices in rap to emerge in the late 2010s, Vince Staples took the hardened perspective of his Long Beach-via-Compton upbringing and elevated it above his contemporaries with forward-thinking production choices and lyrical introspection. After releasing a batch of mixtapes that were well-received by fans and peers alike, he issued his official debut Summertime ’06, a 2015 hit that spawned the gold-certified Norf Norf. Staples quickly followed with 2016’s politically charged Prima Donna EP. With his star swiftly rising, he had a breakthrough year in 2017 with a spot on the Black Panther soundtrack, a feature on the Gorillaz track Ascension, and another hit single, BagBak, from his critically acclaimed sophomore album, Big Fish Theory. Pivoting to shorter LPs, he released the brisk FM! (2018) and Vince Staples (2021).

Norf Norf did not peak in any major chart, but received widespread acclaim by critics and was placed on several year-end lists. In February 2018, the song was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, which I am assuming was based on the number of downloads over the years.

mp3: Vince Staples – Norf Norf

The song, which is a hard hitting and gritty tale about life on the streets, gained notoriety over a year after its release. It was all on account of social media lighting up after a woman, a Christian mother, posted an eleven minute-long video blog in which she tore into the song, lamenting the fact it was being aired:-

“This is on our local radio station, this crap is being played.  I couldn’t even believe the words that I was listening to. As a mom, it infuriated me.”

The woman was ridiculed, largely on the basis of privilege and was accused of being racist.  Staples, however, refused to jump on the bandwagon, stating, via twitter, that everyone was entitled to an opinion, and adding that he didn’t believe she was racist.  His take on it was the woman in the video was confused on the context of the song and this caused her to be frightened, and understandably so. He went further and called out those who were attacking her.

It seems to me to be a strange one.  I get the idea of Staples suggesting that those who were attacking the woman were displaying as much a lack of understanding as she had shown back when she posted the video online.

But surely there is some noise to be made about the fact that the woman displayed such a shocking lack of empathy towards the situations being described in the lyric?  If white parents continually stigmatise young black people and pass on their unjust fears to their children, then the issues that have caused so much pain and grief these past 12 months in particular are never going to go away.

Apologies for a bit of a Sunday sermon today.  I’ll try and pick out a happy song tomorrow.

JC

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