Mango Chile Ale & Vince Staples

Vince Staples, RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART, Motown (2022).

Brewery: Our Brew (Redlands, CA)

Artist: Vince Staples

Beer: “Mango Chile Ale” (5.8% ABV)

Album: RAMONA PARK BROKE MY HEART

Artists create their best work when they draw from what they know, from their successes and struggles, exposing their greatest levels of joy and their deepest levels of pain. RAMONA PARK…, named in honor of the neighborhood Staples grew up in, finds my favorite rapper from the LBC (sorry, Snoop) doing what, in my far from professional opinion, he does best: rap about the past. Staples, at least on his last couple of albums, tends to look backwards at the life he survived coming up in a bleak world of violence. In a lot of ways, he shares characteristics with fellow L.A. street scribe Kendrick Lamar. At the very least, both rappers are genius observers of their environments, and they can convey the temperament of the streets in a league of their own.

Both rappers are also distinctly homegrown, West Coast flame throwers, who carry the flag for their respective ‘hoods with an understanding of what it means to rep those blocks, so I thought it apt that I pair hip-hop music so uniquely So Cal with a beer as unique to the region.

Enter Redlands very own Our Brew craft brewery, and their fucking delicious “Mango Chile Ale”.

Our Brew’s “Mango Chile Ale” is tits!

Staples’ flow throughout RAMONA PARK… is effortless. He never forces a rhyme to fit a beat. He fixes his rhymes to compliment the music, which on RAMONA PARK… is a smooth as the flow, thanks to production that slaps in a subdued way. It’s a banger with a chill vibe.

Our Brew’s “Mango Chile Ale” accentuates Vince Staples’ chill. It has a complex flavor profile that begins with its potent aroma. If you’re not into mango, then skip this beverage because you get popped with a full bouquet of that fragrance, and that’s only a prelude to the flavor that washes over your palate with every sip. Thank the dear lord that this beer is only 5.8% because if it hit the ABV of your typical Hazy IPA, it would be lethal.

“Hey, so how did Nick die?”

“He drowned in Mango Chile Ale.”

I nearly did. RAMONA PARK… runs about 40 minutes, which was just a little longer than the crowler of “Mango Chile Ale” lasted me, but the Our Brew vibe resonated until the last note on “The Blues”.

Standout Tracks

“AYE! (FREE THE HOMIES)”

If I had one wish, I’d free the homies.

Vince steps off the album’s gentle opening, “The Beach”, and slides into something that sounds like an updated Kurupt banger from the late 90's.

That’s 100% a compliment.

“EAST POINT PRAYER”

Ain’t no peacing’ up if you body one of us.

Vince spits vulnerable and pensive rhymes across the album, but on this track he brings back the Northside Long Beach gangster.

The path to peace with him and his crew is avoiding the conflict altogether.

“ROSE STREET”

I’m married to the gang. Don’t be playing games. Only bringing flowers to the homie’s grave.

One of the album’s few upbeat tracks is about love, and Staples’ message is simple: he’ll never love a woman more than he loves his gang.

Originally published on FarFromProfessional.com on April 18, 2022.

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