Vince Staple’s releases have been special thus far. I feel like he’s done a great job of incorporating some very artsy aspects into his music, blending them well with hardcore rap elements that the gangstas he grew up with in Long Beach can f**k with. In his latest project, “FM,” he looks to continue catering to his Cali roots, dropping a body of work that features nothing but the toughest of tracks.
5. RUN THE BANDS
I’m not going to lie, I wanted to put “Brand New Tyga (Interlude)” in my top 5, but it was too short. I guess I’ll settle for “Run The Bands.”
“Run The Bands” has Vince sounding all uppity, spitting with this debonair style and bragging about his cars, women and moolah (RIP Young Greatness). By the second verse, he snaps out of his Montana Max-like character, and instead, starts talking about sticking n**as up and mobbin’. The song is gritty in nature, boasting these rebellious vibes — Matter of fact, I thought about robbing a bank for a split second while it played.
Is Vince Staples robbing himself on this song? That was my takeaway.
4. DON’T GET CHIPPED
I was always curious how Vince Staples would react to diving in another LA n***as world, especially when it comes to the musical side of things. Today, I was granted my wish.
“Don’t Get Chipped” is one of those mean ass bangers that features a quick tempo beat that caters more to an artist like Jay Rock (Who is featured on the hook to this song) as opposed to Vince. Nonetheless, our hero approaches the track like a lion that spotted his pray, throwing haymakers at it, utilizing this steady flow and delivering lyrical content revolving around hustling and remaining a street n***a despite the newfound fame. In my opinion, he succeeds dabbling in this unique sound for him.
“Relay” is a song the homies are going to want to ride out to. With the production giving off cold yet clubby vibes, Vince keeps his bars exuberant, stretching his words out and gifting us with animated deliveries. Lyrically, the Long Beach native keeps things simple, spitting with this slow pace and going into great detail about his devious ways. I love when Vince plays a devious figure in his music.
2. FEELS LIKE SUMMER
Judging by my moisturized elbows, it definitely feels like summer still.
The moment you press play on “FM,” you are treated to this absolute banger that features a trunk rattling beat, a lively Ty Dolla $ign hook, and some sturdy bars by Vince. Content-wise, the song revolves around summer in the hood and how the season had its share of good and bad, and the way Vince describes each is beyond gripping.
People will f**k with the track for many reasons, but mainly for its vibes.
“Tweakin” is easily the most complete record on this album. Not only is it 1/2 tracks that are at least three minutes long, but it is also one of the few that has a traditional structure.
Powered by this inky instrumental, Vince Staples drops his most vulnerable effort here, rapping about snakes in the grass, holding his family down and the angst of losing a homie to gun violence. When you add Kehlani’s chilling but infectious hook to the fray, you’ll realize that this touching tune is one of Vince Staples best songs to-date,
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. FEELS LIKE SUMMER (4.5/5)
2. OUTSIDE! (4/5)
3. DON’T GET CHIPPED (4.5/5)
4. RELAY (4.5/5)
5. NEW EARLSWEATSHIRT (N/A)
6. RUN THE BANDS (4.5/5)
7. FUN! (3.5/5)
8. NO BLEEDIN’ (4/5)
9. BRAND NEW TYGA (INTERLUDE) (5/5)
10. (562) 453-9382 (SKIT) (N/A)
11. TWEAKIN’ (5/5)
It’s always a challenge trying to understand Vince Staple’s frame of mind. In the past, I’ve heard s**t from him that was out-of-this-universe, and I’ve also heard s**t from him that was very lyrical. In “FM,” I felt like he dabbled in both worlds, incorporating some tough ass beats into the fray along the way. This resulted in a body of work that catered to every hood in America while still feeling unique and experimental.
You know what I f**k with the most when it comes to Vince Staples? His passion for his hood. Time after time, he’s talked about the rough upbringing he went through, not quite endorsing it, but not bashing it either. In “FM,” he continues to bring it up quite a bit, never tip-toeing touchy topics such as gang-violence, lost homies and greed. This aspect already makes the album intriguing to listen to, and when you add his knack for delivering clear and concise bars to the equation, you’ll fall in love with his riveting rap style.
I thought the features on this album were fantastic. In small little portions, you got meaningful contributions from Kehlani, Ty Dolla $ign, Jay Rock, Tyga, Earl The Sweatshirt and Kamiyah. Each got a chance to do what they do best, straightening up the wheel whenever Vince started to veer off course. You know what’s funny, though? The project definitely doesn’t feel like it had that many features… That’s probably why a vast majority of them were uncredited in the track-listing.
“FM” plays like a radio station managed by Vince Staples, and for 11 straight tracks, you gotta chance to hear how awesome that would sound if that was really the case. The myriad of emotions I felt while listening to it ranged from hyped up, to taken aback, to trippy. Only if our local radio stations were that versatile…