Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 – The STiXXclusive Review

This has already been one of the best years for Hip Hop, and we’re halfway (at the time of this review) into 2015. The West coast has been on a tear over the past few years, but it’s as though more talent seems to pop up more and more. One artist that has finally got his chance to blow is Vince Staples. Now, if you’ve been listening to Odd Future over the past few years, this is a name that you’re very familiar with, as I have been since about 2011 when I discovered Tyler, the Creator and took in Bastard. Vince was featured on Earl Sweatshirt’s EARL album (epaR), and also popped up on a few other Odd Future songs. Initially I didn’t really mess with him that much, so I didn’t bother following through with his solo career until about a year or so ago. Shyne Coldchain Vol. 1 was my first introduction to his solo ventures, but it was really Stolen Youth that peaked my interest a little bit more (also when I started to like Mac Miller more as an artist overall, because his productions as Larry Fisherman were impressing the hell out of me). Hailing from Long Beach, Cali (home of Snoop Dogg), Vince has a Crip gang background in his family, but he didn’t exactly bring that all the way out in his music (to my knowledge) compared to the likes of fellow crips, ScHoolboy Q & Nipsey Hussle. When it came to the EP Hell Can Wait, that’s where his full growth as an artist started to creep into that superstar potential, and because it was a little taste of just how much he’s grown since initially listening to him while he was running with Odd Future, it was surprising to me that I found myself liking him more and more. Everything happens in its own time, right? It was Blue Suede (produced by Toronto’s own Hagler) that caught on to me and the rest is history. Now, for a debut album, the ambition of releasing a double album is something that separates men from boys. I hadn’t even heard of a double disc solo album since Blueprint 2 (Speakerboxxx/The Love Below doesn’t count) and it was going to be interesting if people would even be able to stick around for 20 songs. I’m sure it wasn’t going to be bad. Besides, I didn’t even know what to expect, but based on his run of success with the aforementioned EP and a role in the newest movie, Dope, Vince on a high he that doesn’t look to come down from at any time soon.

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Vince sets the tone as the Ramona Park Legend and the atmosphere is in the infamous LBC, kicking it with Snoop Dogg and – wait, no, wrong era. The darkness as the waters run back and forth in the background are symbolic of the album cover as the drums tune up and the beach atmosphere of innocence is suddenly cut short by a gun shot, in which we enter Lift Me Up, which is one of my favourite opening album songs this year amongst the plethora of albums that have already dropped this year (and we’re only in July).

“Hey, I’m just a nigga until I fill my pockets
And then I’m Mr. Nigga, they follow me while shoppin”

The first two lines of this song hit right off the bat because as a Black entertainer, celebrity or athlete; before the money, fame, and fortune that is bestowed upon them, they’re often looked at as less than nothing (or as Big K.R.I.T once said, Another N.I.G.G.A). It’s only when money starts to fill up, that Black people are looked at as ‘doing something with their lives’ and ‘separating themselves from the others,’ which often claims to be the common narrative when it comes to interactions with other people who are not of colour and don’t know about the struggle, as much as they try to be ‘down with the cause’ (but that’s for another day). The beat right off the bat is aggressive, which matches the messaging that was spewed from the jump.

“I feel like “Fuck Versace”, they rapin’ nigga’s pockets
And we don’t get acknowledged, just thank me for the profit”

He goes into his history of his town and family, which involves a Crip influence, and he plays with contrasting themes like gang-banging with religion as he goes back and forth with the references to guns and religious entities like Moses, and Nirvana (the state of peace, in Buddhist practice). With the fact that there’s a gangsta rap appeal already, there is consciousness that can resonate, but it’s not as if he’s trying hard to push that in your face. It just connects with his life, and thus it’s a natural feel. The 2nd verse really stands out to me because where the first verse started with some personal & family background along with the frustrations of being a Black man in the limelight, the 2nd verse carries over and digs into why he does what he does, and who he does it for. Quite simply – the block, the homies, the ones who don’t have voices to tell the stories themselves (“it’s the spirits, we’re just letting our dead homies tell the stories for us” – Tupac).

We love our neighborhood, so all my brothers bang the hood
I never vote for presidents, the presidents that changed the hood is dead and green”

Money is the root of all evil, yes, but it is also what changes societies for better or worse, and clearly throughout the countless examples through historical context, movies, arts, and straight up life, it’s a hard knock life for those who live in regions where it’s sparse for money and the power of a dollar consumes many. Hence why when someone makes it out of the hood, it’s a daunting task to stay true to yourself while still maintaining your newfound status, which is where Vince currently is in his life. One of those adjustments is dealing with more fans at his shows, but not exactly those he expects to see often and frequently.

All these white folks chanting when I asked ’em where my niggas at?
Goin’ crazy, got me goin’ crazy, I can’t get wit’ that
Wonder if they know, I know they won’t go where we kick it at
Ho, this shit ain’t Gryffindor, we really killin’, kickin’ doors
Fight between my conscious, and the skin that’s on my body

The adjustment is the hardest thing to grasp at times, and where it is your job to perform, entertain, and make music for all people, you know that the messaging and lyrics are for those who you have an understanding with, not those just here for the benefit of listening in the comfort of their safe zones. This is great lead off track to set off the album, because it’s one that provides necessary context in a time where racial tensions have sparked a conversation that no one can simply run from anymore. Questions are being asked, people are getting uncomfortable, and this balances those two aspects at the very beginning. Moving on.

Norf Norf is that classic, gang-banging, rep your set, old school gangsta rap feel that embodies the spirit of what most of the world knows about South Central LA and other surrounding areas. Much of that can be attributed to movies like, Boyz N Tha Hood & Menace II Society, but also with NWA, Snoop, Tha Doggpound, Tupac, and so on and so forth. What I compare this particular track to, is YG’s BPT, when he comes out and represents the Blood culture in Compton. It’s pretty synonymous in the gangster approach and it’s genuine to hear. It’s more so surprising to me, because Vince didn’t come off as the gangsta like ScHoolboy & Nipsey do. All shapes and sizes, right?

No face, no case, been wit’ the shit
Hopped out broad day then emptied clips
Cut class cause it wasn’t ’bout cash
School wasn’t no fun, couldn’t bring my gun
Know when change gon’ come like Obama would say
But they shootin’ everyday ’round my mama and them way

When the conservative people analyze rap and dive into lyrics like this, they automatically assume that they perpetuate the lifestyle and glorify it. That’s not the case. The stories are told so that people have an understanding of the environments, and then can just visually or audibly envision themselves in those situations. It’s really tiring trying to explain to people that the idea is not to have other people continue the lifestyle of doing the bad things, but rather encourage people not to, so that they can make better of themselves. The need to break down everything just to sympathize with the discomfort of outsiders is truly daunting.

I have to say, that three songs in, the production has been crazy and Birds and Bees has to be one of my favourite beats on the whole album because of the melodic hum of the bass and the impactful drums. It reminds me of SBQ’s Hoover Street. It’s damn near close. The continued narration of the Crip history and the first hand experiences of the aggressive nature are truly foreign to me, so it’s been rather enjoyable to listen to Vince, as though each track makes me like him more and more. What I noticed was that a bunch of songs are pretty short, but with not a ton of features attached, it’s not an issue, especially when it comes to a double album. B&B feels more like an interlude rather than a full song itself because of its high dose of repetition, but it’s still gripping regardless of how it’s presented.

The first time in the album where I really went “meh” was on Loca, because the beat didn’t do much for me, and it just felt flat as a song overall that shifted the focus to the women (because what’s a rap album without something about women?). Granted, No I.D made the beat, and he’s a legend in his own right, but I’m not too hesitant to go away from this song, to not bother with it at all. But what does work with this song is that it connects to the next, that being Lemme Know, which features Jhene Aiko, whom would ‘supposedly’ be the Spanish broad that was cursing Vince out at the end of ‘Loca’ (she’s crazy esé). I had this track on repeat because of so many things that makes this song so dope. The duet that happens from start to finish and the fun and up-tempo beat are the main things, but the symbolism of having a man & woman both admitting their flaws although they’re still in love with each other, is what I can’t even get one decent R&B song to give me these days.

“I know I’m not perfect
I know that everybody ain’t
But if it’s one thing I know that I know, I know nothing at all
You don’t pick up when I call
I’ll make it up by tomorrow
You know that love is a brawl
So I’ll be fighting for ya, I’ll be fighting for ya”

This is one song that I hope gets a video, because how it’s all laid out with 2 verses being the duets, and one of each getting shine. It’s a sexy song with some concrete substance with the thoughts that the average young adult circulates around from time to time (meaning, all the time). This is one that would certainly do well on radio because of its sonic appeal.

I’m going to need a moment of appreciation for the Godfather who introduced many people to the world of the dope dealer, and that is one Curtis Mayfield with Pusherman. He introduced the raw side of what goes on in the streets and thus opened a door he didn’t realize he opened when it comes to the subject material that’s presented regularly in rap – the drug culture influence. With that aggressive notion returning to Vince, Dopeman presents him in the light of the neighbourhood street salesman without consequence.

“Spend the summer days sellin’ hay
Spend the summer nights sellin’ white
FEDs settin’ traps on the A
Yeah I’m sellin’ Act in the ice
Alright, tryin’ to make a dollar bill
Don’t hide, pay me mine and getcha mama killed
Whatchu need, whatchu got makin’ plays
‘Til I’m laid in the grave, gettin’ paid”

One thing that I constantly say that I admire about Rap, is when there’s a level of honesty that’s portrayed in such a way that it’s unapologetic and has a level of quality that merits authenticity. There’s a wide debate as if rappers are, in fact, ‘bout that life,’ but I’ve noticed a trend of these younger rappers being more forthcoming about their experiences instead of trying to fake the funk. What made me like this song in particular is that Vince uses a singsong approach to it, which changes the style up. There’s only so many times that a rapper can stick to the same manuscript, so I liked that something was different in the delivery, and while I’m not a big Kilo Kish fan on her own, when she’s been featured on songs, she’s done well, which holds true here. It’s also pretty funny how much of an influence that Curtis Mayfield had on the hook for this track too.

“I don’t need a gun just to melt a nigga brain nigga
I could pull up to the slums with a quarter ki of caine
I’m the dopeman, I’m the dopeman”

How the songs have been strung together has been impressive to say the least. You have the gangster side from the beginning that ties into the sex, which turns into the drug game, which leads into addiction or the after effects of said drugs that Vince was selling, and thus we have Jump Off The Roof, which is another one of my favourites from Disc 1.

“Head twirl and your vision blurry, dopeman in that kitchen stirrin’
Sold it, we so lit, dope burners, fuck is you so forgetful for?
Girl you know that you need that raw
Girl you know that you need Visine
Preem laced with that cocaín
Pop a pill, pop what’s in them jeans”

Drugs & sex go hand in hand, so I’m not surprised at the connections that are drawn here in the first verse, but as a rapper, he shouldn’t be one to be overlooked, because his way with words has been mightily impressive to say the absolute least. To live fast & die young is a commonly used expression to justify how many people live when they embrace these lifestyles, but for many people, sex & drugs are the only ways that they can really enjoy themselves to a certain degree because it’s so accessible. It’s also toxic how the cycle of crack babies can continually pop up because of that closely tied connection, which has thus been explained thoroughly before (See: Kendrick Lamar’s A.D.H.D).

2015 has not only been good for Rap in general for strictly albums, but the music videos have taken a great leap this year. Vince’s video for Señorita is in my personal top 5. I truly believe it’s one of those videos that enhances the song, because has the embodiment of what he’s been talking about in the album itself, but flips it in such a way that was simple, but still made an important statement. I highly encourage you to watch the video to get a feel for the song. But the thing is, the song itself is still great regardless of the video.

“What means the world to you?
Is it a fast life, money and clothes?
Probably fuckin’ these hoes
Or what would you murder for?
Will your name hold weight when the curtains close?”

Simply reiterating what was put out there, with all the info that Vince brought, he now poses the question to the listener, his people, asking them to ask themselves what’s the purpose of the lifestyle that they life, but contradicts himself because he too lives somewhat of a fast life while still representing the gang culture that he questions.

“Been tourin’, whip foreign, coupe crashin’
Still bangin’ 2 Naughty 2 Nasty
Still “fuck the police” they won’t catch me
My feature too pricey, don’t ask me”

The gangster’s principles are at play, but it’s smart in a way that he flipped it to think about what life’s all worth for someone like him, who just isn’t in his position of stature to make those kinds of decisions. Also, I’m slowly becoming a fan of Nayvadius Wilburn, also known as Future, and the fact that he was sampled for use on the hook, it made me like it that much more. Overall it’s one of the best rap songs this year, and there have been quite a few.

The final song of the first disc is Summertime, which is a play on the title as the halfway part of the album (not that it’s a major significance or anything). It’s as though everything that took place from the beginning has drained Vince of his energy and he’s slumped into a depressed state as he reflects on his upbringing, questioning his life going forward, as it is the past that builds you up to become who you are.

“Open up your eyes and tell me whatcha thinkin’
Open up your mind, and tell me whatcha seein’
Inside of me, where I be fussin’, fuckin’ up this evenin’
I probably couldn’t fix it if I knew the reason
Up on the sea, where I see you fallin’ in the deep end
Is it love? I would really love to know the meanin’”

This was obviously a time in his life that pitted him into a deep strain of dark emotions that hovered around him like a dark cloud, and it shows in the monotonous vocals in which he delivers. We live in a world where today there’s a heavy emphasis on self-identifying whether it’s with gender or sex (unless you’re Rachel Dolezal, then race – yeah right). To self-identify with regards to who you are as a person, it’s a challenge and when you’ve been raised your entire life based on one belief and not know what’s true or not, it casts an array of doubt and vulnerability that many can’t shake.

“My teachers told me we was slaves
My mama told me we was kings
I don’t know who to listen to
I guess we somewhere in between”

It’s crazy that there’s still another half of the album to go, because I feel like what more could he put on this record that hasn’t been said? There are layers to his emotions, background info to him as a person, honesty in the lyrical content, a variety of style, and great production. For a single disc album, it’s great already, but alas, there’s more.

I like how the gunshot effect opens up on Ramona Park Legend Part 2 as it serves as the continuation for this very impressive album. The difference is that this time around, Vince drops a chant with the help of Earl Sweatshirt (who is the king of moody raps right now). It’s serving up to either reveal yet another side of Vince, or build upon what we already know about him. 3230 opens up in a way that for a moment reminded me of Travis Scott, because it’s something that I could hear him on. 3230 is his home address on Poppy Street, which he mentioned a few times on the first disc. The life on the street does a lot to one’s psyche, and this is yet another example of what went on in the hood, which he does in a very up-tempo manner, with a very electric driven production.

“Turn the water and power off, got to send patience, powered up
Evictions notices go unnoticed, the final hours up
Livin’ off of borrowed time, committin’ crimes that’s organized
Fortress ones and fortified, just tryna build my castle up
Dollar and a dream, at night time we maskin’ up
The deadly game of tag, the older generations passed to us”

It’s as though there’s symmetry so far, because of what Vince spits about here can be translated right into ‘Norf Norf’ in terms of defining the conditions of his home turf, with the violence that is the consequence of said conditions. I feel as though Vince will be able to relate to a lot of younger fans, and even some older (stuck in the 90s fans), because of the similarities in living environments that I have either witnessed first hand or have known others to be a product of.

That theory of mine holds true in Surf, which features Kilo Kish for the 2nd time around. This one had to grow on me a little bit, mainly because Kilo’s voice was doing its best to put me to sleep, but Vince has been vicious when it comes to just airing out truths about himself, and I’m here for all of that.

“Broken home, all I had was my homeboys
Either build or destroy, what you going for?
Just a pawn and a plan tryin’ to hold on
When the smoke clear why was the war fought?”

“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
Sixteen, heard you wanna be a star girl
What he charge for the dream that you bought girl?”

Broken homes are usually the beginning of what can be a troubled life for many, because they don’t have that balance, and thus to fill the void that’s left, it’s the outside world (homeboys, drug dealers, other influences) that can steer you into a world that isn’t what you need, but what’s wanted because you yourself don’t feel wanted. That can turn into drug addiction, and also parading yourself to make it out, not having any values of self-respect evident. That also leads into a deadly cycle of kids having kids young not being prepared for life’s challenges, and that too is very common. Vince tells to lies in his tales it seems.

Being signed to Def Jam must be great if you have access to James Fauntleroy & the Cocaine 80s to your disposal (good job, No I.D). Might Be Wrong opens up with Fauntleroy’s signature autotuned melody and thus turns into a spoken word delivery by Haneef Talib that highlights the current events of what’s going on within the threatened Black community in America.

“Speaking on the unjust way the justice system is justifying crimes against our kind. Justice is supposed to be blind, but continue to cross color lines. Hands up, don’t shoot. Shot. Stand your ground. Blacks don’t own no ground to stand on so we stand on our words. Black and hooded is the official probable cause for cops to keep weapons on. I can’t breathe through the chokeholds and gun smoke. These realities drift and appear to inform black boys and men of the dangers outside their doors. Slain in society by sworn protectors. Protected by their peers, grand juries full of friends. No charges brought against them. They kill and arrest us, transgress and oppress us. Damn, cuz”

There wasn’t just one line that stood out, because the whole verse served meaning as to what’s going on. I’ve been to a few rallies, and I’ve been following what’s been going on in America with the police brutality and the mistreatment of Black people there, because whether I want to use my Canadian nationality as a crutch, it still doesn’t make me exempt from being Black anywhere else in the world. Black people get demonized and criminalized in ways when they’re not even the ones in the wrong, and that’s wrong. What I appreciated about this track itself as it serves as a necessary interlude for the album that carries the message through, it lets people know on the outside of the danger zone, that this is what really goes on from the curbs on the streets, to the podiums in the court. There are so many ways to ruin and tarnish the image of Black people, and the institutionalized racism that so many people like to run away from, is becoming more and more in-your-face in Hip Hop albums, much like it used to be when Rap first started. It’s important to get the messages out, and while there will still be incidents of police officers or terrorists gunning down Black people and burning down their churches, there will always be the stories of oppression and unlawful justice that will keep the narrative, hope, and dream alive that equality will eventually mean ‘for all.’

There are a lot of sacrifices when it comes to getting into the rap game to get away from the street game. It’s worth noting that since Staples’ parents are Crip affiliated, and that’s just in his blood (ha) to be an aggressor, there are few ways to Get Paid when you’re caught up in the street life. Initially, I didn’t like this song at all, because I thought that it was just going to be a corny single. The hook didn’t sell me at all, but the verses provided context beyond means.

“I’m on the block all night ’til the sun
Come up, I can sleep when I’m done
Four deep, five seats, three guns
Hopped out nigga, where you from?
Long clip, gun aimed, don’t run
On Crip I need your funds”

It’s funny that this sounds like a fun song, but it’s the polar opposite. Well, it’s fun for those who are out there getting it how they live, so take it as you want. The production is jiggy.

If I didn’t look it up, I would have told you that Street Punks sounded like an early 2000s Neptunes production because of that bounce (shit, you could probably Say Timbaland too, but the drums weren’t as heavy). It’s time to G check these cats out here who are faking the funk pretending that they’re hard, but coming from a real Crip, Vince isn’t having it. Don’t you love gangsta rap? I do. You should too, it’s awesome.

“Tryna catch a nigga slippin’, but I’m stickin’ to the flow
Heard these niggas flippin’ coke, why the fuck these niggas broke?
If there’s shooters in the squad, what’s the bodyguard for?
You ain’t calling me collect and I ain’t pickin’ up the phone
Got some homies from the set who ain’t never comin’ home
You wouldn’t know about it”
 

Not only in the rap game, but in life, there are a lot of people claiming that they’re this and that to have street credentials so that they can come off as being down with the homies, but it is disrespectful to those who actually live that life because it’s really all they know, not just for convenience sakes. I know and you know that there have been people either in your neighbourhood or rappers you’ve listened to, that have no business trying to act hard when on the outside, they’re the furthest thing from the character that they portray to the general public. Coming from someone who has had friends locked up in jail for crimes involving gang affiliated crimes, believe me when I say that you don’t want to falsely claim your ‘cred,’ because it will be checked when you’re on the road and that false identity will crash and burn faster than NASCAR accidents. This is a great song that is one that can live on Repeat for a while.

While listening to this album, I had it on repeat overnight (I listen to music as I sleep, it’s awesome), and one day I woke up to the tunes of Hang N’ Bang (which features A$ton Matthews). Continuing with the gang affiliation, there’s some red on the track with Piru connection bringing out both sides of the infamous gangs. I like when a Blood & Crip can hash it out and get on a beat to drop something fire, and that would be what we are presented with here. They both get into their various activities that put them in part of the sets that they represent, which brings out the question as to if an outsider wants to live that life too (referencing to the G check from the previous track). Do you think you can hang with the killers and drug dealers? Are you willing to bang on anyone just to live for the thrill or for survival purposes? If not, then just listen to the song and be entertained. It’s not for you.

C.N.B (or Coldest Nigga Breathing) also has that significant bounce to it that you just want to roll down the windows and wish you had some hydraulics in your car to hit switches and do 3 wheel motions down the avenue. Who am I kidding? I live in Canada. No such thing (but a man can dream).

“I wake up feeling like I am the coldest nigga breathing
Look in the mirror like goddamn I know they wanna be him”

It was the great Paul Mooney who once said on the Chappelle Show, “the Black man is the most copied person on the planet – bar none. Everybody wanna be a nigga, but nobody wanna be a nigga,” and on everything I believe in, those are words to live by. Vince, I assume also knows that, and hence why it’s brought about not only in his hook, but in specific lines in the song as he ties it to, again, the victimization of the Black individual and why we’re posed as threats when they’re the threatening individuals that have taken people from their lands, created it for themselves and thus say it’s their own to claim. That doesn’t make any sense, now does it?

“The sheets and crosses turned to suits and ties
In Black America, can you survive?
They made a nuisance once the noose is tied
We gentrified, we victimized, we fighting for survival
No hopes and dreams, just leave us be, we leanin’ on the bible
They preyin’ on us, prayin’ for a better day tomorrow
Hide the fear behind this here bravado”

Late to the party, as usual, I didn’t know that there were Judges, Police Officers and others in positions of power that were Klan affiliated. But at the same time, when you look at the deconstruction of people of colour and the jarring imbalance of whites and non-whites institutionalized and segregation amongst North America, I can’t say I’m surprised. It’s sick that it still goes on in the 21st Century, but I like that Vince shed light on the fact that this is a real thing, and the fact that the majority of people who go to rap shows and buy albums are White, it’ll be interesting to see if they understand the correlation between what their lives are like and the lives of others whom they listen to or are friends with. Hip Hop may change the world, who knows? Also, because of that fear and insecurity of being treated like less than, by the majority of people are in positions of power, you bottle that up and put on a front of toughness to shield it from the rest of the world. It’s like when your parents told you in Elementary school that you only got bullied because bullies are insecure about themselves. This is pretty much the same thing.

“Why they hate us? Why they want to rape us for our culture?
They greet us, feed us, bleed us, then they leave us for the vultures

Just like how their descendants took over multiple countries full of Native Indians to inhabit and claim for themselves, Black people face that same threat with our own culture with regards to slang, music, and basic style that has been with us forever. Because we are the innovators, it’s ironic that those who love us for our entertainment, hate us for our colour, but want to be us because of the style we grace to the world. It’s funny how life works. This is why every time you see a white person completely ruin a new dance or use slang that’s so out of place, the common phrase is “Black people can’t have shit” because seriously, we can’t have anything. What a time to be alive where social consciousness is seeping back into relative mainstream music. That’s very important.

Like It Is, is the cherry on top that wraps the album up of its contents and packages it into nice bag, is tied with a string, and this is the card that is being written to go with the gift to be given. The lessons that were taught to Vince about what it means to be in the streets and his determination to make it out and be someone, is the passion that a lot of people have; one that I certainly have for myself. How he goes into the verses of thought and remembrance, followed with the interludes in-between them, it’s a perfect send off that really stamps his placement in Hip Hop as someone who is here to stay and look to continue to be for a long time.

“Do doves cry when the black man dies, or do we croak with crows
The young catch gun shots, the old catch the holy ghost”
 

“I been through hell and back, I seen my momma cry
Seen my father hit the crack then hit the set to flip a sack
I done seen my homies die then went on rides to kill ’em back
So how you say you feel me when you never had to get through that?”

Open book honesty has been the difference as to why I find myself sitting here, a fan of Vince Staples, because of a strong debut that left nothing on the table. These particular lines were just some of many on this song alone, which define just who he is, what he’s about, and why he does what he does. There are too many people who have the preconceived notion that all Black people want to do are be ballers or entertainers. Some people do, others do it as a necessary means to make it out of damn near impossible situations. I respect it a lot, and there aren’t a lot of people who can sympathize with regards to what it’s like to live in a hopeless environment and find a way out. This is his way out, and I’m glad that he presented this in the manner that he did. It’s been truly an experience.

Just when you think it’s going to go out with a smooth and easy transition, ’06 leaves us with a cliffhanger of static that we’ll only have to dive and investigate with the next album, whenever that is to come to be. The only thing that I could say is, wow. Simply wow. To take on the risk of doing a double album for a debut was gutsy enough, but to execute and have it be an entertaining and provocative album in its own right beyond my expectations, is another thing. That’s what really surprised me, because I didn’t know if we were going to get anything that would be close to what Hell Can Wait offered. I’m glad I was wrong, and all of those years that I brushed Vince to the side, I kind of wish I didn’t, but I came around at a time where he has made his claim to be headed in the right direction. For those who are just introducing themselves to Vince Staples, this is a great start, and then work your way backwards. For me, personally, this is my re-reintroduction to Vince and I’m confident in saying that I’m here to stay as a fan. I’m definitely buying this album in physical as a keepsake, because it’s very necessary. There aren’t many strong debuts that I can recall in this past decade, but he made his case, as this is nothing but strength. Listen to it, sit with it, digest it, and most importantly, enjoy it. But for now, this is my opinion, this is my review

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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