Are you tuned in?
This past Friday, Vince Staples released his latest album ‘FM!’. Our fave Crip from the Norf Side gifted us with a delicious brew of excellent bars, production and culture. We should expect nothing less of Staples. Taking a peak into his catalog, you’ll realize that Staples’ way with words is direct yet nimble. Features as well, the way he navigates through a beat is exemplary.
“North side, right by the Popeye’s, popped out / Ran from the cops but the cops get shot now” – Vince Staples in “Run The Bands”
Being that this album is 22 minutes in length, it comes and goes but doesn’t leave us feeling empty. In actuality, ‘FM!’ has us craving seconds and thirds. We can hear the effort, the meticulous attention to detail and raw talent poured into this project. Staples teamed up with Kenny Beats for majority of the album’s production. Who else knew we needed this collab? Thank the hip hop gods for bringing them together; Kenny Beats constructed a layout genuine to Staples’ sound and the culture of Long Beach.
Conceptually, ‘FM!’ fuses the very real experiences of Staples’ life growing up on the North side and glimpses of the current atmosphere. Stylizing the arrangement of the album as a radio is a nice touch establishing continuity with the title. Yet, things come in even fuller circle by his integration of “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” radio show, a principal component to the culture of Long Beach.
Features include newcomers and vets from California like E-40, Kamiyah, Earl Sweatshirt and Jay Rock. There’s a reintroduction of more artists making projects consisting of fellow hometown heroes; it should continue on this way. As much as beef is a part of hip hop, unity is as well. Artists creating these bodies of work as a composite of their regional sound and culture adds a new layer to the music. GoldLink had a similar dynamic with his album ‘At What Cost’ featuring artists and producers from his hometown, DC.
‘FM!’ is contemporary with hints of nostalgia in sound and content. Staples continues to be a forerunner in the “new school” of rappers from the West Coast. Staying true to himself and his experiences, his ability to innovate without compromising himself is commendable. ‘FM!’ is available on all streaming platforms. Listen to the album below.