This album has elements of new age hip-hop and old school boom bap. The symphasizers, distorted bass and guitar create the rhythm that makes the music stand out, the drums keep our heads knodding and his flow tight. This is that gangster and still intelligent California style album I have been waiting for. It has clappers, out-of-tune horns, scattered drum taps that make for an energetic and at the same time slow motion feel.

Vince is better understood as a fully rounded emcee after this tape. He might prate at times but at the end his focus stays pointed and strong. We learn about his past through his current mind state. He is political, street conscious, fighting greed, contemplating his religious beliefs all by “showing, not telling” with his stories and observations. If you were curious what Northside Long Beach looked like in the summer of 06’, Staples paints the landscape like J.M.W. Turner. He does not promote drug dealing or use but rather tells the tales of addiction from a gloomy point of view from the villain ‘The Dopeman.’ He is a writer with amazing potential, his debut LP is lyrically great but will not be his greatest.

Not many emcees can go from verse to verse with such an unabating sound and flow like Staples does on this album. Even his choruses are well fitting and musically instinctive. The sampling and female drop-ins go so well with Staple’s echoing and repeating. His voice is unique and raspy. He writes like a veteran.

This can be played for a chill feel, during a party, or while whipping all supplied from the production alone. His lyrics go from gang relations to female interactions all teaching us the roots of Vince Staples. He rides the records with a glue-like persistence and made an incredible debut LP. His voice and flow are extremely distinctive and give him a young OG sound. Overall this should be heard by any fans of thoughtful hip-hop and well made soulful music of any kind. Honestly when is the next time you will come across a twenty record album without one track lacking some level of power and meaning? You can’t always wait for Kendrick.

Published by Ryan Klingenberg

Ryan 'Hip-Hop Hercules' Klingenberg is a writer based out of Long Island, New York.

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