After a series of successful mixtapes and his critically acclaimed Hell Can Wait project, fans waited to see the full-length debut from a 22-year-old Vince Staples. In 2015, he finally delivered with his album Summertime ’06, which would immediately receive praise from fans and critics alike. The record depicts the chaotic life of a teenager from Long Beach, California, like no other.
On the album, Vince Staples has a blast recollecting on the stories which shaped him into the man he is today. In the first half of the album, most of the tracks rely on dark humor and harsh lines to vividly paint Vince’s early life. Tracks like “Birds and The Bees” and “Señorita” with Future are prime examples of this. The song “Norf Norf” is an absolute highlight as its abrasive punchlines and quotables stick with listeners for hours. The second half of the record takes a darker turn as Vince dives into the more serious side of life in the lbc. Songs like “3230” truly cultivate the pain and paranoia, which goes through the mind of one trying to live this dangerous lifestyle. Topics like gang violence, hood politics, and crime are heavily discussed on this portion of the record. In summary, Vince Staples does a great job of showing the world what he has endured in his life in an enjoyable yet compelling manner.
The production of Summertime ’06 captures the classic west coast feel but, with a modern spin. The instrumentals are smooth yet in your face, making them feel like a current spin on the previously popular g-funk sound. Beats like “Loca” and “Hang N’ Bang” perfectly complement Vince with their out-of-pocket drum and rhythm patterns. One of the best instrumentals is “Jump off the Roof”, which contains a fierce and early sound pallet for Stapels to narrate over. The bangers off the record, “Norf Norf” and “Señorita”, are easy to enjoy, yet they stay true to the sound and story Vince is trying to tell. Overall, modern west coast production doesn’t get much better than Summertime ’06.
In conclusion, Summertime ’06 is a modern classic as it finds a way to bring a new and exciting spin to topics which can seem so repetitive. Vince has such a unique sound and style it is hard to get bored while listening to this album. While there are a few filler tracks, it hardly negates from the overall experience. This album isn’t just Vince’s best project to date; it’s essential to listen for all modern hip hop fans.