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Album Review: Vince Staples–Summertime ’06

If you’re familiar with Kanye West’s song “Last Call,” you know the part where he talks about Jay-Z pulling the Gucci bucket hat over his eyes in disbelief and making one of those faces like “OOOOOOOO”…that is the only way I can describe how I felt the first time listening to Vince Staples’ Summertime ’06.

This is one of those albums where you hear a song, think, “oh yeah, that’s my favorite”…and then the next song comes on and you have to reevaluate everything. The biggest standout on this compilation for me is the production. Every single beat is a masterpiece.

With a big heap of the production credits lent to the legend No I.D., other big names like Clams Casino, DJ Dahi, and Brian Kidd also contributed to the hypnotizing sound of this mix. Even with all of these musicians who have wildly different sounds, the songs are hard to differentiate one producer from another as everything meshes perfectly together.

This album is in no way what you’re going to be hearing at the club–except for maybe “Señorita”–(unless I acquire ownership of a club within the next few weeks) but that doesn’t mean it is not a lively adventure. From song to song this feels like a different trip through Staples’ brain, experiencing the manifestation of what he dreams about at night or writes about during the day.

And if you don’t already know, Staples’ already high level of rap skills stands the test of time with this one. His already soothing, easy-to-listen-to voice is made even better by the meaningful lyrics he’s spouting. He has the perfect tone to juxtapose with a female counterpart, which he utilizes in a number of tracks including “Lemme Know” with Jhene Aiko and “Jump Off The Roof” with Snoh Aalegra.

“Loca” is easily one of the standout tracks on this album. With a simple but encapsulating hollow, clapping beat throughout most of the song, it becomes addictive to repeatedly listen to. Featuring a comical outro from a girl yelling Spanish expletives, you can picture exactly what Vince might have gone through in his relationship with a Hispanic girl who drove him crazy.

“Jump Off The Roof” is another one. I feel like if I jumped off the roof listening to “Jump Off The Roof” I would land on a cloud and float for an eternity. It has a gritty yet angelic sound, combining what sounds like cowbells and some extremely high-pitched chorus singers.

In “Surf,” Staples’ tells a story about a young girl caught up in her desire to be a star, and the devastating backlash that comes with it. His ability to sew together a story is what shines bright here, paired with the melodies of Kilo Kish and a warped electronic beat.

Summertime ’06 is also the only album–to my knowledge–that ends with an epilogue. “’06” is a measly 48 seconds long, and no matter how many times you listen to it, you can’t help but be caught off guard by it’s abrupt ending after you get lost jamming out to it. This dope half-song raises the question of whether “next time on Poppy Street” indicates that the full song will appear on his next album, or if it’s a classic case of an Arrested Development epilogue in which we never actually see the promised story played out.

The tracks on Summertime ’06 all have a distinct feel to them, there’s a certain exhilaration and anxiousness while also being calming. Vince’s ability to combine such starkly contrasting feelings to make these unique songs is ultimately what makes this such an overwhelming success.

I wanna build a blanket fort and listen to only this album inside of it for 3 months straight. Vince Staples has the ability to put you in a trance, and a great one at that.

About Rebecah Jacobs

From Los Angeles and living in New York. Always listening to music.

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