Vince Staples’ “Summertime ’06” album is top-notch

By Julian Balboa – Contributing Writer


“I’m tryna have a good time this evening,” Vince Staples said.


And if “Summertime ’06” is any indicator, Vince Staples is most definitely having a good time.


His debut album spans twenty songs over two CDs. It’s also a concept album that delves into the life he used to lead on 3230 Poppy Street in Long Beach, California. It’s full of vices and different prices being paid as a gangbanger, though it seems that Vince figured it all out by the time he and his cohort, Earl Sweatshirt, started gaining traction amongst Hip-Hop bloggers.


The production on this album is top-notch. No I.D. and Clams Casino are on the case with their signature lucid nightmare production styles which give the album a cohesive and consistent starkness that goes hand in hand with Vince’s themes as he tackles relevant issues.


Following an eerie intro, the album opener ” Lift Me Up” criticizes the wealthy lifestyle Vince has grown to love from listening to Hip-Hop yet finds himself wishing he was lifted up to their level of wealth instead of bringing everyone else down. It’s a tale of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. The next track, “Norf Norf” tells of his life growing up in Northside Long Beach and running away from the police. The Jhené Aiko-assisted track, “Lemme Know”, features drumsticks thumping and shared verses between the two throughout.


The best track on the first CD (and the whole album) is “Dopeman.” It features the up and coming newcomer, Kilo Kush, singing a smooth yet gangster hook and Vince rapping about selling just about everything on a beat that is reminiscent of Schoolboy Q’s “Collard Greens.” Don’t be surprised if this becomes his next single off the album.


The next CD begins with the track, “Ramona Park Part 2”, which starts where the first part left off: a gunshot. Assisted by an uncredited Earl Sweatshirt, Vince croons for a moment about gang members trying to gain legendary status in a culture that’s legendary for all the wrong reasons. The next track, “3230”, is about day-to-day life at home in a gang: “living off borrowed time, committing crimes that’s organized.” It’s the kind of life most of us only hear about in the news. Another highlight, “Street Punks” has a thumping production that hits all the right notes. Lastly, the track “C.N.B.”, is a socially aware heavyweight that paints the picture: “In black America, can you survive?”


Overall, the album serves as a terrific debut for Vince, and with the album’s cliffhanger ending leaves much to look forward to in the rapper’s future.


Score: 4.5/5


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