Nowadays when it comes to street rappers telling their stories, most of them tend to speak about it in a way that could easily be taken as glorifying the lifestyle. But Vince Staples is a rapper who’s made it very clear with his music that his past lifestyle is not one to be bragged about.
Summertime ’06 is meant to be taken as a snapshot of Staples’ life during that time, and all the negative influences that molded him into the person he is today. He approaches the album with a sense of self-awareness that is unheard of for most rappers his age. His attention to minor details in his lyrics help to paint pictures of descriptions that bring his stories to life. Staples has no problem giving it to you straight, despite how disturbing or painful the topic. “Surf” is a perfect example of this, with lines like:
“When the smoke clear why was the war fought?
Bout time you abandon the folklore
How you rich but your bitch in an old Ford?
How you black sellin’ crack for the white man?
How you real, wouldn’t kill for your right hand?”
“More black kids killed from a pill than the FEDs in the projects
In the planned parenthood playin’ God with ya mom’s check, you ain’t even been to prom yet”
The album is filled with perspective that shows wisdom beyond Staples’ years. While most artists nowadays are barely able to put together an album without fillers, he made 2 albums worth of material that manages to keep your attention throughout the project.
Mainly produced by veteran beatmaker No I.D., the double album is sonically cohesive in a way that is refreshing. The beats range from sparse and experimental to bass-heavy and commanding. It definitely makes for one of the more exciting releases this year.
Knowing that this is only Staples’ debut makes all that he manages to accomplish with it that much more impressive. He’s still got a long way to go, but he’s definitely made his mark as an artist with a lot more to say.